Good evening! Tonight’s Campfire Chat with Alaska Chick is what I consider pure Alaska. Winter Comfort. Preparing (or surviving) winter and finding new ways to cook or roast some of that enormous Alaska-Yukon Moose harvested in the Fall. I will share with you my own Winter Moose Stew recipe as well as Master Guide Terry Overly’s incredible Bannock recipe.
The questions (because I chose two!) are from Jen Onley, Creator and CEO of #BEALEADER™ and Jen asks, “How do you prepare for the winter months now?” and she also wanted to know, “What’s a good recipe for moose?”
Winter and Moose Recipes! ~ That, I can Chat about! ~ Pure Winter Comfort
Wintertime in Alaska is an experience of a lifetime! The entire world is covered in a pristine white layer that gives each flash of color an inner neon glow. The crisp, clean air washes every shadow away and fills you anew with energy and joy.
It is also a time for stews and dinners next to a crackling fireplace. A couple of my favorites are Moose Stew and Bannock. I would be happy to share them with you here! ~ I am also pleased to share with you that my newest book, Cookin’ For The Boys will be ready to be put to the test soon!
Winter Comfort Moose Stew
- 3lbs chunk-ed Moose stew meat
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 can of Campbell’s onion soup
- 1 bag baby carrots
- ½ bunch of celery (with leaves)
- 1 big onion
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 8 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes
- Bowl of seasoned flour
Small bowl of 2 cups of flour, 1 Tbs salt, 1 Tbs 6-pepper-blend, 1 Tbs garlic and ½ Tbs rosemary ~ mixed.
First, even though yes, you will be boiling and simmering your stew for hours, Moose-meat should be tenderized. I lay it all out on a big board and use a clean (and empty!!) beer bottle to “beat meat”.
Tip: “Beat meat” doesn’t mean give it some love taps! Put some muscle into it! When you have beat it all ~ flip it all over and do it again! Stew meat chunks are thick –you will have to really get into it, but it is worth it when you are done!
Dice up your onion and slice the garlic into thin slices. Put both into a frying pan and grab a pair of kitchen scissors.
Insight: I discovered the beauty of kitchen scissors when I became a Mother!
Using the scissors, cut the bacon into ½ inch pieces, directly into the frying pan and stir-fry it with the onion and garlic.
Pour can of onion soup into pot with four cans of water. Add the bag of carrots and cut potatoes into chunks and slice the celery (thin) including the leaves and add to the stew pot.
Take the beaten-to-death stew meat and coat it thoroughly in flour mixture.
When the bacon, garlic and onion are fried, turn the heat up in the frying pan for a moment and then sear the stew meat quickly in the mixture. Turning until brown all over, turn the heat off under the fry pan and add this mixture to the stew pot.
Salt and pepper to your own taste when it simmers for a while and begins to become stew. (The flavors will have begun to mix and combine.)
After entire pot comes to boil, lower fire and let simmer at the very least until carrots and potatoes are tender. The longer the stew simmers, the better it is!
Tip: Be sure you watch the level of liquid in your stew. The flour will help (along with the potatoes) to thicken the stew but the stew will need more water added. Keep the fire as low as possible while maintaining the simmer.
Terry (yes, Master Guide Terry Overly!) makes the Bannock for me ~ I wouldn’t even try after watching him do it! LOL, I am simply not that graceful!
Terry’s Bannock (another pure winter Comfort)
In the rain, sleet and snow, this fried bread has been a staple in many of the first people of North America’s diet for centuries. The old timers and prospectors made Bannock on the trail. The word “Bannock” is a Scot’s word of Celtic origin. Baked on an open fire, the original Bannocks were heavy, flat cakes of unleavened barley or oatmeal dough formed into a round or oval shape and cooked on a flat stone or griddle and later in a cast iron pan, all over open flames of a fire.
Terry remembers and speaks often of the days before snow-machines and when dog teams were the only means of transportation during the long winter months. The memories of -50 ℉ and -60 ℉ nights spent on the river with the teams of dogs while out trapping have become my own with the passage of time and watching Terry make Bannock on our campfires so many times.
There are countless variations to the Bannock recipe but the one we will share with you here is the recipe Terry was taught by his Canadian Step-Father and Mother as a boy. It is the recipe Terry first taught me well over 20 years ago and is incredibly easy to pre-mix the dry ingredients and store in a Ziploc inside a gear bag strapped onto a snow-machine or packed into a saddle bag for cooking on the campfire on the trail.
Terry uses a 12” cast-iron pan. So remember this, as you adjust the recipe to and for about 2” of dough in the pan you choose.
~ Now, first I will give you the recipe as it was given to me and then I will give you the approximate measurements of the recipe that I use myself when mixing up a bag to take along on one of our Adventures.
“Use half as much flour as you do cornmeal. Add just a little bit of sugar, too much will cause it to burn in the pan on the fire. A little bit of salt and baking powder, all together in a Ziploc bag and mixed thoroughly.
Bring along a chunk of lard and a little butter for the frying and stick both in another Ziploc. Put both Ziplocs in a third bag, along with a small honey-bear to keep both bags and the honey together so that they are easy to find once it is dark.
When you stop for the night, out on the trail, get your fire going first and build up a good bed of coals. Get your cast-iron pan out and add a bit of water at a time to the dry mixed ingredients, until it is sticky dough, like bread dough but stickier.
Put your pan on your fire grate, over the coals and let it get hot with a little bit of the lard greasing the sides and bottom before putting the Bannock dough into the pan. When the pan is hot, add the dough and form a circular hole in the center of the dough.
The hole in the center is where you will continue to add slivers of lard, to keep it from sticking as the Bannock cooks. Use very small amounts of butter to the hole as well. Butter will cause the dough to burn if too much is used, but the flavor it adds is worth the caution. Remember to also add lard to the edges all around the edge of the pan as well.
Cooking the Bannock is a very slow process. Take your time and keep your fire hot, raking coals to add to the pile under the pan. Enjoy your fire and as soon as you can, begin jerking the pan to spin the dough and keep it from burning. When the lard and butter have seared and started frying the bottom of the bread, you will be able, with a jerk of your wrist, to begin spinning the bread inside the cast-iron pan. All the while doing this, keeping the hole in the center of the dough open and adding little bits of lard and butter.
When the bread spins freely, and you can see in the hole in the center that the bottom has begun to turn a golden brown, get ready. Now, comes the tricky part. You will need to flip and catch the Bannock. Once you flip (and catch) the bread, keeping your hole open, continue adding lard and butter and finish cooking the bread to a golden brown.
When the Bannock is done, drizzle honey over the top of it, cut it into wedges and enjoy this age-old food, alone or with the rest of your meal.”
Using a 12” well seasoned and oiled cast-iron pan.
Ziploc 1 (or bowl):
- 3 Cups flour
- 6 Cups Cornmeal
- ¼ Cup sugar
- 1 Tbs salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
Ziploc 2 (or nearby to use):
- Brick of lard
- Stick of butter
To mix: You will need water.
Mix the dry ingredients well, then slowly begin adding and mixing water, forming a sticky dough with the same thickness of homemade bread dough.
Refer to the instructions above and enjoy your Bannock bread!