CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Hunter’s Hamburger Stew

Anyone who has enjoyed a day in the field in pursuit of ringneck pheasants knows how nice it is to return to hunting camp for a tasty home-cooked meal.

I recently returned from my third trip to western North Dakota, where wily roosters did their best to outsmart me. Luckily, I was in pretty good company, so  a few birds that made their way into my freezer.

On each of those trips, my hunting companions and I dined on some pretty good dishes. On the first two, friends and brothers Mark and Terry Young each provided a couple of meals as did I. Mark brought chili mac and tomato hotdish, while Terry shared pheasant Alfredo and creamy pheasant wild rice soup. My contribution was chili and beef stew.

On my most recent hunting endeavor, my brother, Kevin, and cousin Paul Hendrickson joined me. The night before we left, Kevin, Therese and I triple-teamed a trio of meals to take with us.

We had barbecued pheasant, chili and hamburger stew. (Actually, the stew was made with ground bison.) All were mighty tasty, but my favorite was the stew, since it contained carrots, tomatoes and onion from my garden.

People who have gardens will find the stew recipe particularly appealing, since many still have some tomatoes ripening, onions drying and carrots still in the ground.

It’s one recipe that you won’t mind hunting for!

Hamburger Stew
1½ pounds ground beef
4 large carrots, sliced
2 large potatoes, cubed
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
2 cups broth (beef or chicken)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground all-spice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 clove garlic, minced
Brown ground beef with onion, garlic and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, potatoes, broth and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes longer or until thickened. If still too soupy, thicken with cornstarch. Serve with hard rolls or bread.

Southwestern Pheasant Soup
2 49-ounce cans of Swanson’s Chicken Broth or 6 cups of homemade pheasant broth
1 1-pound bag of Alberto’s medium egg noodles
1 10-ounce can of Rotel Mexican Lime and Cilantro
½ cup salsa
1 14½-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
1 pheasant (breasts and thighs)
Precook pheasant in 6 cups water. Dice the cooked pheasant meat and brown it in light olive or vegetable oil. Heat broth until it nears boiling. Then add all the other ingredients. Cook on medium until the noodles are soft. Add more broth as needed.

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