Field-to-Table Fare for Winter

Make warming stews and chili for cold days, using locally sourced, homegrown, and wild-harvested ingredients.

| January/February 2021

chilli 
Photo by Adobe Stock/Dušan Zidar

Many people hunt, fish, and forage for food to feed their families. A great deal of the food my family eats is obtained this way. This is a good thing.

Now, for those of us who do this, how many of you have heard, “I don’t like that,” “It has a gamey taste,” or, my favorite, “It doesn’t taste like beef (or chicken)”? For many, eating wild-harvested game and fish is a new experience, one that takes a little time to get used to. Sadly, many Americans have gotten used to meat, fish, and vegetables found on the shelves at grocery stores, and they think that’s what food is supposed to taste like. I hope the following recipes will keep your family happy and introduce new people to eating wild.

When I cook, I like to use fresh ingredients from my garden or from local farms whenever possible. Additionally, all the recipes featured here include locally sourced beer or alcohol. While the beer, rum, and whiskey I use in my cooking adds flavor (and the alcohol burns off in the cooking process), some people prefer not to use these ingredients. That’s fine; just leave them out. That’s the great thing about cooking: Recipes are just guidelines. Feel free to change things up.



 raw-ingredients-for-stewbison-stew
Some of the ingredients in these recipes, such as alcohol, can be kept in, taken out, or modified, depending on your preference. Photos by Dan Benner

Benner’s Bison Stew

Living in rural New Hampshire some 60-odd years ago in a family of seven, my mother creatively stretched everything to make ends meet, and one way to do that was to make soups, stews, and chowders. This recipe is my take on her version of beef stew, with my own little twists, of course, including bison meat. Bison is one of my favorite meats to both cook with and eat. While it’s great no matter how you prepare it, this particular stew is popular in my house.



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