Moose Bourguignon

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
If your freezer's full of moose meat and you're looking for new ways to enjoy it, we have a solution.

Moose Bourguignon is a delicious adaptation of the traditional French stew that's nutritious and so gourmet-tasting you can serve it at a dinner party. Or keep it simple and make it for yourself. Make up a big batch and freeze in individual servings, so you can heat it up on a frosty winter's day and treat yourself.

Because it's such lean meat, braising and stewing are ideal cooking methods for moose. The long, slow cooking in its own juices (fortified with a little wine and aromatics, like you would!) brings out the best in the flavour of moose and coaxes the short-fibred meat to tenderness and succulence.

Moose Bourguignon
Serves 6-8 (can easily be doubled)

½ lb slab bacon (or 1/3 lb regular bacon), cut into ½-inch cubes
2 lbs moose, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tbsp flour (for coating moose pieces)
3-4 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (less depending on fat from bacon)
2-3 medium onions, coarsely diced (or 2 cups peeled pearl onions)
4 ribs celery, chopped in half-inch slices
1 lb white or cremini (brown) button mushrooms, halved (or left whole if using
small mushrooms)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1 bottle (3 1/4 cups) red wine
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Beurre manié, if needed, to thicken (recipe follows)

Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat burner to med-high. Add bacon and cook 5-8 minutes to render out the fat. You are not going for crispness, just to release fat. Remove bacon and set aside. You will need 4-6 tbsp of fat to sear the moose; add oil if needed. Season moose with salt and pepper, and toss with flour. Shake off excess flour and sear moose pieces on all sides, Do it in batches, so you don't crowd the pan. Add oil as necessary. (All the browned bits on the bottom of the pan will be the base for the flavour of your stew!)

After all moose is seared and put aside, add onions to the pan and sauté until softened and lightly browned. Add celery, mushrooms, herbs and garlic. Sauté a couple of minutes more. Sprinkle in the next 3 tbsp flour and stir 2-3 minutes to cook out the floury taste. Season with salt and pepper and deglaze with the wine. Use your spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot for those flavourful browned bits. Return the bacon and moose to the pan. Liquid should nearly cover everything; if not, add water. Reduce heat to low to gently simmer, cover with lid and let stew for an hour, stirring occasionally. Check tenderness and seasoning. Add carrots and potatoes; stew 30 minutes longer. Remove lid for another 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. If sauce is too thick, add water. If too thin, thicken with beurre manié (pronounced bur mahn-yey): Stir or knead together 3 tbsp each of room-temperature butter and white flour until smooth. Turn heat up to medium, stir a tablespoon of beurre manié into the sauce. Cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes. You will see the sauce thicken and become a little glossy. Repeat, if necessary, to get the consistency you like.

Serve with crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine!