Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bison Heart Stew

Yeah, maybe I went overboard with the butter, but maybe not.

Last week we prepared this dish because we now have a source for delicious organ meats, including bison heart, bison liver, and sweetbreads (beef). Heart has always been a favorite. It can be added to any meats you grind at home to add depth and richness to the meat or sausages you might make.

Some people are cautious about using heart because it is high in cholesterol, but based on calories and protein, it is right there with white meat chicken (95 calories, 15 grams of protein for a 3-oz. serving). Heart is very high in Vitamin B-12 and very low in fat. For those monitoring iron intake, a 3-oz. serving provides half the DRI of iron for men, and 22 percent of the DRI for women.

Eaten by itself, it can be a bit strong. I like to soak my fresh venison hearts in water for 24 hours to remove the blood clots, then slice thin and toss on the grill for a couple minutes, topped with smoked sea salt.

How do you like your heart?

Bison Heart Stew
1 lb. ground bison, venison or beef
1 lb. bison heart, diced
1 qt. beef broth
1 TB prepared mustard
2 garlic cloves
1 (7 oz) jar tomato paste
2 TB Italian seasoning
1 lb. cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
1 leek, slices of white part only
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow), seeded and chopped
1 bay leaf
Pats of butter, to add before serving
Salt to taste
Trim off obvious silver skin from heart, as well as any blood clots or arteries. In a blender or VitaMix, combine beef broth, mustard, garlic cloves, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, cherry tomatoes, and coconut aminos. Blend until smooth.

Cut your heart pieces small to make them easier to chew, especially if serving to children.

In a Crockpot or slow cooker, place vegetables and the bay leaf. Place meats on top (alternatively, you can brown the ground meats for a few minutes on the stovetop to bring out a bit more flavor). Now pour your tomato puree over the meat/vegetables. Set the slow cooker to LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or HIGH for 4 to 6 hours, and cover to cook.

Tomato sauce before blending.

Serve the Bison Heart Stew hot with a pat of butter. If you have any fresh herbs around, feel free to chop and add those to the bowls as well. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's Time to Come Home and Eat

Hello dear readers and eaters. It has been a while but you have not been forgotten. As life does, it got in the way, but only in the best of ways. We added to our growing family, a son born in late November 2012. So this last year has been busy changing diapers and now chasing little scampering feet around the house. But I've also been doing all the fun stuff: hunting, fishing, foraging, and eating.

In fact, I've been invigorated by some new reading materials, new sources for new meats, and potential for some pretty darn cool adventures in 2014. So stay tuned!

But here are a few things that kept me busy in 2013:

Fishing the Bighorn River

Touring/Signing my new book, Montana Beer

Making beer

Eating delicious BBQ

Savoring Elk Carpaccio for my birthday

Also, with the exception of beer, I've gone "paleo" in my life, so expect some awesome recipes that truly highlight the hunter/gatherer in all of us and showcase the simple, whole foods that are plants and animals.

Right now, though, I'm off to prepare some Bison Heart Stew, which will be my first recipe of 2014 published shortly.

CHEERS! - Ryan

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Venison Meat Rub

Every cook worth his/her salt needs a good rub every once in a while. That's why we have a new "old standby" meat rub for venison (works well for lamb too). It's quick and easy!

Venison Meat Rub
3 T. maple syrup
1 T. chili powder
1 T. black pepper
1 t. cumin
½ t. ground coriander
¼ t. ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, minced 

Coat venison steaks or roast in olive oil. In a separate bowl combine meat rub ingredients. Apply liberally onto venison before grilling. Best when venison is cooked on high heat allowing a nice sear. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Konus Kitchen Teams with Cooked Animals for Camp Chef Giveaway

Konus Kitchen launched a Facebook giveaway today to offer five winners the chance to land Camp Chef appliances and other prizes. As the featured wild game chef, Ryan Newhouse and Cooked Animals offered up an all-time favorite recipe, Venison Rindsrouladen.

To have a chance at winning a Camp Chef Dutch Oven or Camp Chef Skillet, simple visit the Konus Kitchen Sweepstakes page and enter your name and email address (October 8-14, 2012). No purchase necessary. All chosen winners will also receive a Konus Kitchen apron and pickling spices.


Konus Optics are the makers of fine sporting optics for the active outdoors-person. Stay tuned next month for a full review of the M-30 10-40x52 rifle scope as we take it on an antelope hunt in Central Montana!

*Recipe photo courtesy Chris Chapman Photography

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: Swedish FireKnife

Aren't we all looking for that one knife to carry with us when we're hunting, fishing and recreating outdoors? I know I am, and thanks to Light My Fire and Mora of Sweden, I might have it. They sent me one of their new Swedish FireKnife to do what else - make fire! And that I did.

On my three-day camping trip last week, I vowed to only use this knife (come rain or shine) to make fire and keep myself and my family warm. And, thankfully, I did and it did.

But before I go further into the fire side of this knife, let's talk design. With its hard case, which securely holds the knife in place, I feel I could stow this thing anywhere - in my tackle box, on my belt, in my backpack, and it will be protected from dings and hits of any type. And whether it's for hunting or fishing, or both, the rubber grip keeps the blade securely in my hand - dry or wet.

The hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel comes razor sharp, and the clippoint blade (my favorite style) works for cleaning fish or caping deer and elk. This knife feels sturdy in the hand, enough so that I could chop some small branches for the fires, even though it weighs a mere 3.31 ounces (94 g).

Now the neat part. In the hilt of the Swedish FireKnife is a length of Swedish FireSteel, accessed easily with a twisting motion. Using the backside of the knife, and after giving a few preliminary strokes to remove the paint from the FireSteel, I was sparking in no time. Without much practice, my first fire came in about a dozen strokes.

My second fire, even after a night of rain, only took about 4-5 strokes. Each stroke is capable of producing a 5,400 F spark, so even at high altitudes when those spendy and fancy lighters seem to wimp out, this blade and FireSteel combo is there to work. Without a doubt, this knife was reliable all weekend long.

When you are outdoors, you cannot afford to leave fire up to luck. And with the Swedish FireKnife, there is no such thing as luck. Look for this knife at your major outdoor retailers (or request it if they don't carry it). It retails for less than $30.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Survival Strap Paracord Bracelets (Giveaway)

Back when I worked for the major outdoor retailer and co-op, REI, we had a saying about how much gear one should bring camping. It went something like: "One already wastes too much by not bringing enough." What we meant by this is to be careful in the pursuit of going "minimal" in the backcountry because you may end up in a situation where you really needed something you didn't bring and not what you did bring.

To that end, something I will now always bring with me while hunting, fishing and camping is a Survival Strap. On a recent camping/fishing trip I tried took apart one of the bracelets the company sent to me. I was surprised just how easy it was to take apart and use. Unraveling one of the Wounded Warrior Project Survival Straps, I was left with about 10 feet of paracord, some fasteners and a metal plate.

In a pinch, paracord is one of the most useful items you can have with you. There are entire websites out there devoted to its uses. I would recommend that anyone who ventures outside at least some of the most basic knots: Taught-Line Hitch, Figure Eight Knot, Square Knot, Clove Hitch (my favorite), and the Bowline.

One of the unique and useful things about paracord is not only is it rated up to 550 pounds of test strength, but it's made up of about seven smaller strings inside, each of which can be unwound to smaller (fishing line-size) strings.

After unraveling the Survival Strap, I set out to make a few snares that I had learned as a young boy playing in the woods. The blog, The Art of Manliness, has one of the better posts showing the basics of snares. Once you learn the theory of the "engine" you can then adapt it to a variety of landscapes. Here is another useful document on snares and traps.

With the provided paracord (and a knife) I was able easily set up both a rabbit snare and the fish snare (both featured on The Art of Manliness). While I did have hooks with me because I was fishing, I could easily see fashioning a makeshift hook from the Wounded Warrior Project plate. (Note: please check your local regulations before actually snaring fish or game. I did not actually snare any animal when testing this product.)

In short, the Survival Strap is comfortable and reliable, and with their new Fishtail series, they are sleek.

Now for the giveaway! Survival Straps provided me with a couple extras that I will pass on to you. If you would like the chance to receive a free Wounded Warrior Project bracelet (just like the one pictured below) and a key fob (over $50 package!), all you need to do is leave a comment below explaining a survival use for which you would be grateful to have a Survival Strap. I will choose a winner at random on August 20, 2012. Good luck!

(To date, Survival Straps has donated over $566,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project through the sales of these bracelets!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Body Glove 3T Barefoot Water Shoes

Body Glove Footwear, the worldwide water sports brand celebrating 60 years of innovation and experience in wetsuits, swimwear, clothing, footwear, accessories, and technology accessories, recently sent me a pair of their new 3T Barefoot Max water shoes to put through the proverbial “ringer.”

I took them for a long day of fly fishing on the lower Clark Fork River in western Montana, and here are my notes.

Unlike other “multi-toe” designed shoes, the unique three-toe design does make it a lot easier to put on and take off than competing ones in this class. It also makes sense grouping the smaller three toes into one pocket because those toes do not articulate like the first two toes can. I felt like my smaller toes were more protected in the 3T Barefoot than in a pair with five toe slots (which I also own and have used). Also, I’d rather get my shoes on and go fishing than fiddle with my toes for fifteen minutes. This was a big plus.

The 3T Barefoot water shoes were quite comfortable, even wading in and out of water all day on a variety of surfaces. Though a minimalist type shoe, my feet were not sore at the end of the day. The neoprene top covering allowed flexibility and breathability. The soles provided good traction in an out of the water. Where I fished required traversing a steep trail down to the water, and these shoes provided stability and did not slip. The only time I experienced slippage was when I took a break from fishing and swam out to a rock outcrop. Where these rocks were wet and smooth, I did not have very secure footing, but I believe most water shoes would have had the issues on this surface (pictured below).

What I also liked about the closed shoe design is how it kept debris away from my feet. With its IDS (Integrated Drainage System) technology, water can flush from the soles of the shoes through small, mesh-covered openings. I did find that if I didn’t cinch the elastic draw cord around my ankle, debris would find a way in. However, when cinched, water did get trapped on the top of my foot under the neoprene. But I’d rather have water in my shoes than rocks.

Overall, the shoes were durable; though after only one day’s use, some of the mesh netting on the soles began tearing away (pictured below). While I don’t believe this compromised the shoe’s overall integrity, I could see it allowing some particulates in over time.

If these shoes interest you, they can be purchased directly at online for $49.99 or may be available at your local stores carrying Body Glove. For sizing, I typically wear between a 12 and 12.5, and these size 12 shoes fit perfectly and left a small amount of breathing room.

Uses: fishing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddling, windsurfing, short hikes along creeks.

UPDATE: After publishing this post, Body Glove immediately noted they are aware of the mesh issue and are actively working "on a better solution to manufacturing" these shoes to address that problem. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seared Salmon and Potatoes in Dijon Stock

There is almost no better-tasting fish than freshly caught wild salmon, and there are just about as many ways to prepare it as there are those that catch this delicious fish. This recipe, however, is a great way to bring out the full flavor of the fish, and it’s relatively easy to prepare.

Seared Salmon and Potatoes in Dijon Stock

4 Salmon fillets, skinless, 6-8 oz. each
1 ½ lbs. baby or new red potatoes, with skins
2 T. Butter
2 T. Canola oil
2 T. Olive oil
2 T. Apple cider vinegar
2 c. White wine, dry
1 ½ c. Chicken broth
1 T. Mustard, dijon
2 Shallots, sliced thin
1 ½ lbs. Baby spinach leaves
2 T. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400°F. First, you’ll want to prepare the potatoes. Wash the potatoes and place them in a large pot, then cover with cold water. The water level should be about an inch above the top of the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-high. Let the potatoes cook for about 12 more minutes, until they are just about done, but not quite. Drain them and let them cool, then slice them in half and set aside.

Next, melt your butter with the canola oil in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper and then place them flat side up into the skillet. Cook this side until brown, approximately 4 minutes, then flip the fillets and brown the other side for about 2 minutes. Carefully remove the salmon fillets from the skillet and place them flat side down into a large baking dish. Arrange the potato halves around the filets.

Take a large saucepan and combine the chopped shallots, wine, and vinegar. Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat to medium high and allow it to reduce until there is approximately 1 cup of sauce remaining. At this point add the mustard, tarragon, and chicken broth to the pan and increase the heat until the sauce just begins to boil again. Remove the sauce from the heat immediately and pour it over the salmon and potatoes.

Place the salmon in the oven and allow it to bake for around 20 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through. 5 minutes before the salmon will be done, take another large heavy pot and heat the olive oil. Add half of your spinach to the pot and stir gently until the leaves are just wilted, approximately 3 minutes. At this point add the rest of the spinach and toss it until it too is just to the wilting point. Remove immediately from the heat to prevent over-wilting.

Serve the salmon on top of the wilted spinach, or separately, whichever you prefer. Some extra tarragon sprigs can be used for garnish if you like, and don’t forget to top the salmon fillets with the wonderful sauce that it was baked in.