This unique take on the classic French recipe comes from the Maine Farm Table Cookbook. It’s hearty, filling, and satisfying, and according to chef Ken Burkett, it’s a perfect remedy for a gloomy, cold, late-fall day. While this recipe calls for moose, you can substitute beef (chuck) or venison.
In Maine, there is a short but coveted hunting season for moose. Permits are applied for with excitement and issued by a lottery drawing that occurs at the end of June.
As in hunting, patience is the key in braising game meat. This recipe will allow you to cook the moose to the required tenderness without overcooking your vegetables.
From the Maine Farm Table Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6 people
15 baby carrots, peeled
1 pound red pearl onions, peeled
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
8-ounce pork belly or thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons (¼-inch cubes)
3 pounds moose chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 pound button mushroom, quartered
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750-ml) red wine—use what you like to drink
4 cups beef stock
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups parsley leaves, for garnish
1 fresh baguette, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season carrots and onions with salt and pepper, spread them onto a sheet pan, and place them in the oven. Cook until the carrots are slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Onions will be caramelized. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Pat dry the moose cubes with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. In the same pot in which you cooked the bacon, sear the moose in batches of single layers for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Leave plenty of room between the cubes of meat to promote browning on the meat rather than steaming.
Remove the seared moose to the plate with the bacon. Set aside.
In the same pot, add all of the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until all their liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown.
Add the tomato paste and garlic to the pot with the mushrooms. Cook and continue to stir until fragrant for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 4 ounces of the butter and all of the flour, stirring constantly. Cook this roux for another 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
Add the wine and beef stock and bring the stew to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and stir in the bacon, moose, and bay leaves. Cover the pot and cook until the moose is fork-tender (will slide off the fork with ease), about 1 hour.
Finish the dish with chopped thyme leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the finished stew into bowls, evenly distributing the carrots and onion. Garnish with the parsley. The stew is best eaten with toasted baguette slices and good butter.
Excerpted from The Maine Farm Table Cookbook: 125 Home-Grown Recipes from the Pine Tree State. Copyright © 2021 Kate Shaffer. Photography © 2021 Derek Bissonnette. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved.