Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 
Making Bambi Stew

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

OK, here's the thing. My husband received a gift from a friend the other day. That gift came in the form of a deer's rump or rump roast if you prefer.
He didn't shoot it, but his friend, an avid hunter did and offered him a piece of his prize catch. Out here on the East End there is a large hunting population. Deer and duck hunting season are very busy out here as well as stiff competition for the shrinking spaces to carry out those activities. There is also an active bartering system as well, a sort of sharing of the bounty. My husband, along with his friends regularly share whatever they've caught with each other.
My husband loves to clam, oyster and scallop, so he will frequently drop off a bag of clams, scallops or oysters for friends, who in turn share with us some of their prize catch of the day. Friends, who fish leave coolers on our front porch full of all kinds of fish, everything from flounder to bluefish.
Basically whomever had a good day, usually shares some of that good fortune with others. Hence now the deer rump roast in my refrigerator.
Uh, honey, can you move the milk a little to the left, so I can plop this big ole leg o' deer in there?  So with Bambi now ensconced in my fridge, I had to work around it.
Now I have my issues with hunting, especially trophy hunting, which to me is pure waste and cruelty.  But I understand the need to cull herds of deer in parts of the country, so the herds remain healthy and the populations stay under control.
Maybe if we didn't kill off the predators who do this for us, we wouldn't have that much of a problem, which is a whole other issue, but I digress.
But when you have a dead animal in your fridge that didn't come from the supermarket, it kind of takes on a different kind of aura.
Whenever I opened the fridge door, bam! there it was, wrapped up in the trash bag.
Finally after the holidays were over and there was a lot more room and time, my husband cut the deer roast into several parts, some for cooking and others to be saved for smoking later (more on that down the road).
So I decided to give it a try and make a Bambi stew or if you prefer the more traditional, venison stew.  
First thing to remember is that venison is extremely lean. There is no fat on there to help flavor the meat.
I began by cutting the meat into cubes and browning it in a frying pan. I'm a big fan of the slow cooker, especially for stews and soups. I then chopped up carrots, celery and onions and placed them in the bottom of the cooker. 

Then I placed the browned and cubed meat on top of the vegetables in the cooker.
In a large bowl I defrosted a two-cup package of some of our crushed tomatoes, frozen and saved from the summer garden. Along with the crushed tomatoes, I added one bag of onion soup mix (it adds a lot of flavoring), one bay leaf, plus a handful of minced dill.
I mixed all of that together, then poured it over the meat and vegetables. Then covered it and turned the cooker on high, letting it cook for the next four hours.
Wow, what a great smell that created in the kitchen! 
The sauce was very tasty. It permeated the deer meat, which can tend to be dry, with a savory, tangy flavor.  I added that on top of a bed of rice, what a feast! Instead of rice, you can also add potatoes to the slow cooker about an hour or two before it's done. We enjoyed it, despite some of my reservations. When the weather gets a bit warmer, we'll smoke the rest of the deer meat. Smoking is a major production, but well worth it. I'll let you know when that time comes.
VENISON STEW 3 chopped carrots 2 chopped stalks celery 4 onions quartered 2 pounds deer meat cubed 2 cups crushed tomatoes 1 package onion soup mix 1 bay leaf 1 handful fresh dill, minced Place chopped vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Brown the meat, then place meat on top of vegetables in cooker. Mix crushed tomatoes in a bowl with onion soup mix, minced dill, throw in the bay leaf and pour contents of bowl over meat and vegetables. Cover and turn on cooker. Serves 4 to 5.

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