David Theiss: Tag stew after a cold day of hunting (recipe)
In the last few of months of the year, hunting season is in full swing. Just driving down the road in town you see hunters with their campers and trailers heading out to the great open spaces of Nevada.
It’s a rite of passage between fathers and their children — teaching their own personal hunting skills, getting out with their family and spending some time enjoying all nature has to offer. Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and antelope are among the many species Nevada has to offer in big game.
I hear my friends get all worked up in the early part of the year conversing about applying for their deer tag: what area to put in for, who’s going, if they can get the time off from work, and so on. They apply for the tag and then wait for the day that they are selected, if they are selected. Then the fury of the day tags come out; who received notice that they were drawn to receive that elusive tag and who got “bupkis.”
For the next few months, before the big hunt, preparation begins with getting your guns and ammo together, practicing at the range, collecting the special camo clothing, and the last-minute preparations include packing food, ice chests, tents, sleeping bags, trailer with your new four-wheeler, two-way radios, and everything else you need to survive the cold. Oh, the rough labors of hunting: usually a very early morning task, sometimes snowy, always cold. Imagine you’re out scouting with your family, finally spotting the prize. You calmly sneak up closer to it, ready your weapon, slowly and quietly aim, and — he hears you, runs off, and disappears into the wilderness, never to be found again.
After a week of trouncing around the mountains and nothing to shoot within miles of you, you sadly accept that this hunting trip you won’t be able to fill your tag… Ergo the idea of “Tag Stew” the realization that all the meat you have to take home is the tag. Also referred to as “skunk soup” (Tag stew sounds better). Meanwhile here’s a recipe that will feed you and your hungry family and friends, after all that hard work.
2-3 pound chuck roast
4 whole carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
4 cups beef stock
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
12 medium red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground rosemary
1 cup water
Prepare the meat by cutting the roast into 2-inch cubes. In a bowl, add salt, pepper, ground rosemary and flour. Combine all ingredients and dredge cutup meat chunks. Sear meat in a large pot with the olive oil by browning all sides. Remove meat and set aside.
Chop carrots and celery in larger chunks (about ½-inch length). Chop onions and garlic and place in the pot that you removed the meat from. On high, heat and slightly scorch the veggies for 3-4 minutes tops, then add the beef stock and deglaze the pan.
In crock pot add meat, veggies and potatoes, and 1 cup water. Turn on high and cook for 8 hours. It takes a long while for the meat to render down and become very tender, so start this in the morning for a delicious dinner!
Better luck with the hunt next year!
David Theiss is owner of Butler Gourmet Meats in Carson City.