I was recently asked by a reader to post Veronica’s Mastodon stew recipe, so here it is (remember, you don’t need a whole Mastodon, just a small part of it).
2 lbs Mastodon* – hindquarter is best, but just about any muscle part will do
flour – 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 TB light olive oil (make sure it’s light!)
4 cups broth (Mastodon, beef, veggie, or whatever you like)
1 lb potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
1 lb carrots (big, fat, juicy orange ones!)
1 lb onions (Walla Walla sweet is the best)
4 large or 8 medium Crimini mushrooms
4 stalks celery
1 TB minced garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste**
2 TB flour mixed with water into a soupy slurry
1-2 bottles of red wine (Merlot or Cabernet-sauvignon)
Cube Mastodon into 1″ cubes, then coat with flour/salt/pepper mix.
Peel and cube or chop the veggies. Cubes shouldn’t exceed 1/2 inch.
Heat the oil in a large skillet/pan at medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated (spit into it – if the spit pops and spits back at you, it’s ready – if that’s too unsanitary for you, then you don’t belong in the Corps of Discovery and you can just add a drop of regular water), add the flour encrusted Mastodon. Sear the meat, then add the broth, the chopped/diced veggies, garlic, and salt and pepper (go light with this stuff initially, you can add more later, but you can’t take it out – and remember, most broth has salt in it). Open one of the bottles of wine (you did remember the wine, didn’t you?)
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Pour a glass of red wine. Stir occasionally (the stew, not the wine!). Cook for 25 minutes. Enjoy the wine. At the 20 minute mark, taste the stew for flavor (i.e., is there enough salt and pepper? If not, add more) and stir in the smoked paprika (replace the lid and keep simmering).
Mix flour and water to create a soupy mixture. This is for thickening the stew (although the flour on the Mastodon has done some of that already).
Once the stew is done cooking (that 25 minute thing), add the flour/water mixture and stir it up. The stew should thicken nicely. If it doesn’t, just add more – it’s chemistry!
Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with the red wine. If you want, you can also heat up some French bread to have something to sop up the remaining stew with, but it’s not necessary (and way too many carbs!).
*If you don’t have any Mastodon, substitute it with Mammoth. If Mammoth isn’t available (or you don’t know the difference between a Mastodon and a Mammoth and you think they’re they same thing, but none is available), then find another dead animal to substitute – such as musk ox, yak, bison, elk, deer, pronghorn or whatever – just not chicken, turkey, alligator, or anything that tastes like chicken).
**Everyone’s taste is different, so you add what you like – remember, too salty and it sucks – not enough salt and you can add more. Same goes with pepper (well, not really for me, but for mere mortals, maybe).