Connemara Stew with a Virginia twist

First recipe!

I came into some good Potomac oysters this week and had wanted to do something different so decided on Connemara stew. If you don’t know (I didn’t) its a hearty Irish dish traditionally made with lamb, root vegetables and sometimes oysters. Lamb is expensive but I had venison on hand so used that instead. There really aren’t too many ingredients. Just use fresh mint and parsley and you will get some very good flavor.

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I started out melting butter in a cast iron dutch oven.

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Next sauté onion, celery and garlic.

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I dusted cubed venison with salt and pepper then lightly coated it with flour. Into the pot to brown.

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When the venison is good and brown add white wine. Use your wooden spoon to scrape off any black bits from the bottom of the pan.

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When the wine has cooked down by about half, add the stock, mint and potatoes. Cover loosely and simmer for half an hour.

Store bought chicken stock is fine for this but I’m a believer in using homemade. I save carcasses throughout the year then when I get a 3-4 gallon stock pot full I’ll take a weekend and make stock then freeze it. Not just chicken bones: turkey, duck pheasant and chukar from preserve hunts… you get the picture. You can cook it for half a day, all day or all weekend, just keep adding water and keep the bones submerged. You know its ready when you can bend the bones with a pair of tongs. Also: if you deer hunt save those bones! They make the BEST stock.

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Oysters ready to go!

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When the meat and potatoes are tender, add parsley, lemon zest and oysters. You really don’t need to simmer longer than another 5 minutes. This will incorporate the flavors and firm up the oysters.

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Sorry but the lighting in my kitchen is challenging for good photos.

Anyway serve in a warmed bowl with crusty bread. I actually had green onions cut to top it with but forgot and left them off. Tasty!

Recipe:

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 medium onion diced

5 gloves of garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, diced

4 medium potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes

1.5 – 2 lbs your choice of cubed stew meat

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of white wine

2 cups of stock (chicken is fine, I used homemade stock either from venison or wild game birds)

8-10 raw oysters

zest of 1 Lemon

1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

1 cup of chopped parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crusty bread and chopped green onions or scallions for serving

 

(Optional: I used artichoke hearts in this but carrots, turnips or parsnips would be great)

 

 

 

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