No, I am not kidding. Bear Stew.
Last year we had a bit of trouble with a black bear. It's not normally something we hunt. We do hunt- partridge, rabbit, moose, dear... Not usually bear.
You read the title, right? Little house in the big wood. We live on 120 acres of mostly bush, with a couple hundred thousand acres of crown land and pure Canadian wilderness behind us. Bears live here. There's a big old boar (male) who lives on the back edge of our property. Like most bears, he minds his business, lives his life, and stays as far away from us as possible. There's also a mama bear who makes her den on the side of our land. You know it's really spring when you see mama lead her cubs up the edge of the property and across the road into the woods there. That's where they feed in early spring. She also minds her business, and stays away from us. There are probably others who cross our paths without ever being seen.
And then there was this little guy who was being overly friendly. Dangerously friendly. Four feet away from the house friendly. We tried to scare him off, but he kept coming back. Although he wasn't causing any damage, his mere presence was a threat to our safety and well being. So we bought a license and put him in the freezer.
I'd never eaten bear before, and we'd been warned that it would be tough, greasy, smelly & gross. But I can't waste food. I can't take a life and just throw it away. I figured, worst case scenario, I'd end up making lots of nutritious doggie stew. As it turned out, bear tastes good. Very good. Much more beef like than moose.
Now, since it's 40 below out today... Ok, not really, it's -1°C outside, and 19°C in the house, but it feels cold. A perfect day to run the oven. A perfect day for bear stew.
1 package (about 2lbs) bear stew meat
1/2 cup flour
good squirt beef gravy mix
1 small onion, peeled & chopped
4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups green beans
3 cups of corn
2 large carrots, peeled & chopped
a couple pieces of celery (save the trimmings to cook with whenever you buy celery)
frozen from last year's garden:
handful of tender young turnip
handful of cabbage leaves
handful of brussel sprouts
handful of dandelion buds (very nutritious, and great in any mixed veggie dish)
garlic, salt & pepper to taste
Water to cover all
Bake @ 350°F all day long. The secret to stew is the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. I try to make enough to last three days, although I do sometimes add more veggies on day three. One pot meal, three days without cooking. Yum!