Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reindeer Stew

 Usually Saturdays are reserved for a special treat, but today there is no time to play in the kitchen. My spatula and frying pan have been replaced by a paintbrush and a 3 liter bucket of paint. For a long time now week-ends scream out with the sounds of materials being dragged across the floor or a saw buzzing away in regular intervals. Once the saw dust settles it is my turn to spread some more paint on the seemingly endless walls of first or second coat bliss. After scrubbing the paint out of my hands, my face and my hair it is time to check on dinner. This morning my trusty freezer supplied me with another helping hand from one of my best friends. Leftovers, once again to the rescue, has been slowly puttering away on the stove. Whenever I make stews or casseroles, leftovers end up packed away neatly and put into the freezer for a day just like today. 
Reindeer Stew over mashed potatoes w/ling-berries

When my children come here this summer and ask, "what’s for dinner Mom?" I wonder how they will react when I reply, "Reindeer stew." This would be one of the times that I put some Norwegian culture on their plates.  Reindeer tastes a lot like venison. The meat is very lean and has just a hint of wild game flavor.  I put the finished frozen stew in a casserole on low heat this morning so all I have to do now is make mashed potatoes and serve it all up on a plate. How great is that? I suppose now you want to know how I made it in the first place.

We can buy Reindeer meat in the grocery store. To make “Finnbiff” stew I use the kind that is bought in 2 kilo bags of frozen shaved meat. Since I make plenty when I first make it, I use 3 bags. This would be about 3 lbs. I fry the meat in butter until it is nice and brown and place it in a casserole. In the same frying pan I brown sliced mushrooms, (how many depends on how much you like mushrooms) and 1 finely diced small onion. I add this to the casserole with reindeer meat and add ½ a liter water and ½ a liter cream. Again the amount can vary, make sure it barely covers the meat. Add salt and pepper and let the whole thing simmer for about half an hour or so. Next add ½ liter of dark beer, 1tbs of crushed juniper berry and caramel color extract to make the sauce brown instead of cream color (this is my preference but not necessary) Take a pealed carrot and shave it off into the casserole, slice off a few pieces of brown goat cheese, adjust salt and pepper to taste and thicken the stew using which ever method you prefer. I use a finished cornstarch product that you can just sprinkle in the stew to make it thick, but as far as I know you cannot get that in the states. Let the stew simmer for as long as it takes you to make the mashed potatoes that you serve the stew over. Ling-berry or cranberry goes well on the side. 

Sound complicated and strange? It tastes great, and is one of those meals that are hard to stop eating even after your stomach screams for you to stop. So how do you deal with dinner when you have little time to prepare it and you want something good?

Have a nice week-end everyone and feel free to come back for dinner tomorrow.


shelly said...

Sounds good. I'm still trying to wake up. Having a bout of fatigue again.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, a reindeer IS a deer, so I'd expect it to taste like one. Be odd if it tasted of chicken. I'd don't think it sounds odd, so hope your kids like it.

Susan Roebuck said...

Coo! I didn't know you ate reindeer (well they eat river snakes here so...) I love food you can't stop eating :-)

Susan Kane said...

That is a stew I would love; it has all the elements of savory excellence. Would reindeer taste like venison, I wonder?

Annie Bananie said...

I like the look of your recipe for Finnbiff, and want to try it for our Christmas Eve dinner. Only problem is I can't locate the Norwegian brown cheese here in England. Can you suggest a substitute? Thanks