Happy Ground Hogs Day - Woodchuck Stew

Happy Ground Hogs Day - Woodchuck Stew

Now while some may assume groundhog’s day is just another day in February (or a pretty good movie), I beg to differ. I recently learned that woodchuck meat is actually delicious in these woodchuck pie and woodchuck stew recipes! Crazy idea you say? Just try it! Trust me.

 When I remembered groundhog day was coming, I had to give these recipes a try to you could get festive with delicious food for the big day!  my go to source for these kinds of recipes is Mother Earth News.  There is just so much information on that website and newsprint on outdoor living.  I know there would be a recipe celebrating this wonderful holiday.

 One of my favorite things is to be outdoors. I’m a big hiker and runner so I try to spend as much time outside as possible. This winter has been so warm, it’s let me spend even more time out in the sun without being bundled up in 50 layers. So when I cooked the woodchuck, I decided to cook it in a Dutch oven outside. You just treat the Dutch oven as if it were a regular oven in this case. You can place coal on the top and bottom of the pan or just on the bottom! It’s totally up to you. To be honest, I really enjoyed the taste of my meet cooking it this way and so did the family! You can also use Humphrey’s smokers to cook the meat as well! It’s easy; once everything is in the Dutch oven, place it at the top of the smoker.  I learned lot about Dutch oven cooking on Mother Earth News.  Check it out for yourself.

 Woodchuck pie is very similar to chicken pot pie. Of course the meat tastes different, but I think I prefer the woodchuck to the chicken. Who would’ve thought this could be so good? The pie was my brother’s favorite by far too.

 The stew was another experiment, and let me tell you, it was a success! Holy moly! That stew was to die for…literally. You prepare everything for the stew the same way you prepared the pie. Instead of draining all but 2 cups of the liquid, you save the liquid and then bring everything to a boil. I think this one was my favorite, but it’s hard to tell!

 Try them both, and let me know what you think! Here’s to the groundhog not seeing his shadow tomorrow! Although, after our lack of winter, I wouldn’t mind getting some more snow.

Woodchuck Pie

1 woodchuck
3 medium carrots
3 potatoes
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of flour and piecrust dough

Quarter the woodchuck and place the pieces in a large pot with enough cold water to cover the meat. Boil it for 10 minutes, then discard the water, refill the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil again. Lower the heat and let the contents simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the carrots and potatoes and continue cooking the stew for about another 30 minutes ... until the meat is tender and separates easily from the bone. By this time, you should be able to pierce the vegetables readily with a fork.

Now, strain the liquid and reserve 2 cups. The remaining pot liquor can be saved for soup stock, or discarded.

Next, remove the cooked meat from the bones and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Melt the butter or margarine in a large, heavy skillet, add the diced onion, and cook it for 5 minutes. Then add the flour and stir the mixture until it bubbles ... put in the reserved liquid and blend the brew some more until it thickens . . . and, when that happens, combine the vegetables and meat, mixing the whole concoction thoroughly.

Finally, butter a large casserole and pour in the meat-and-vegetable mixture. Lay piecrust dough over the top of the filling, brush the pastry with milk, and place the container in a preheated 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the crust has turned golden brown.

Woodchuck Stew

Prepare the meat and vegetables in the same way prescribed for woodchuck pie, but strain and reserve all the liquid — instead of just 2 cups — and put it into a clean pot. Then remove the meat from the bones and cut it, as well as the potatoes and carrots, into bite-sized pieces. Add the chunks to the pot liquor and bring the stew to a full boil. That's it! If you like, you can also add dumpling batter to the broth in spoonfuls, cover the pot tightly, and cook the tasty meal for an additional 12 minutes.

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