WHATCHA CALL IT STEW
This is a stew/soup that lets you the cook be creative BUT don’t over do it with the being creative part. Here’s why and it’s a rule to cook by: Don’t mix things together that (according to my Mom) “. . . shouldn’t oughta go together.” Salty goes with salty; sweet goes with sweet, and etc.
I once prepared a recipe that came from a women’s magazine and it called for chicken and of all things, cherry pie filling. Sorry, we threw it out; the ingredient flavors just didn’t go together. OK, now that the rule is established, let’s proceed with making what we at Deer Camp call WHATCHA CALL IT STEW. Now here I’ll have to say we got the idea from a cowboy cookbook only they referred to it as “SON OF A – – – – – (GUN) STEW. After all this is a family newspaper and my recipes are used by a lot of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It’s OK to call it ROADKILL STEW or SCOUT STEW WITH MYSTERY MEAT or some such name if you like.
Start with the biggest pot you can find. I once started with a small pot and found that the more ingredients I put in the less room I had and I had to go to a bigger pot, and then a bigger pot, and etc. until I wound up using the biggest pot we had in the chuck box. Save yourself some trouble and use the bigg’un; trust me on this; get the biggest one you have and don’t try to make two smaller pots of stew because you just can’t balance the flavors – one will be good and the other not so good.
Put in deer steak, deer roast, deer tongue (that has been cooked and peeled), deer heart, deer kidneys (if you’re brave – I suggest cooking them first), deer testicles (don’t peel them), and a squirrel or two, maybe a rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork chops, or any other meat that you have in the refrigerator that’s left over from a previous meal. Cover meat with water and bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the meat is fork tender. Cool the pot, remove any bones, claws, or fangs and cut the meat into small spoon size pieces and return it to the pot and bring it to a simmer again. Now add a few ribs of celery (chopped), diced raw onions to taste, cubed turnips, cubed potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower. Cook until raw vegetables are tender.
Next step is to add the other vegetables and since I like to use canned I’ll just say, “Add one can of each vegetable on the shelf (corn, peas, sliced potatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, butt beans, carrots, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce or tomato paste to the stew pot but drain and reserve the liquid from each can and yes it’s OK to mix them together. Use this liquid as needed to add back to the stew due to loss by evaporation. Taste the stew often and add seasoning(s) (pepper, salt, and garlic powder) accordingly. I don’t know how to use what I call exotic spices or seasonings and never developed a taste for them (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, etc.) so I’ll leave that up to you the Duty Chef.
What stew isn’t consumed can be left simmering on the back of the stove to mellow – keep covered. Add water from time to time along with leftovers from other meals. We have been known to throw in leftover spaghetti, scrambled eggs, ham, fried chicken, baloney, and some mysterious ingredients. There’s nothing like a big bowl of WHATCHA CALL IT STEW when you come in from the cold especially if you’ve been in a deer stand all day.
Ingredients may be added, left out, or substituted depending on availability and the cook’s personal choice. Also remember! “Don’t mess with the cook.”