I HATE THE GROUNDHOG!

See how fat he is?  Probably take two skillets
See how fat he is? Probably take two skillets

I hate that varmit.  Seriously.  I Just learned (click here for story) that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which according to legend frightened him and sent him scurrying back into his hole.  Somehow this inexplicable chain of events is responsible for six more weeks of winter.

I’m sick of winter, and say we should do something about this meteorological hegemony and bring the tyrant down?  We need to go all Bill Murray all over that beast.  Who is with me?

The logical question comes next.  What do we do with the groundhog.  Well, I say we eat him!  I have some suggestions.

"I Got You Babe"
“I Got You Babe”

Groundhogs are not very big, so we could make a mulligan stew out of him.  Think of how good a nice groundhog stew would taste–carrots, potatoes, onions, a little Worcestershire sauce for flavor, maybe some Tabasco sauce, a little garlic–all simmered together to enjoy when it gets bitter cold outside.  Nothing is as tasty as stew when it is cold, and nothing tastes as good as sweet ironic revenge.

If the groundhog is wrong, which, by the way, he often is, then the weather might actually get warmer.  That doesn’t mean we give him a reprieve.  His reign of terror must end.  But if warm weather comes early, I say we roast him on a spit out by the lake, while wearing flip flops, sunglasses, funny beach hats, and sunscreen.

If none of that is to your liking, then let’s keep it simple.  Deep fried groundhog might become a national delicacy if we can get the right marketing plan.  Just looking at how fat Punxsutawney Phil is, I would say it is slightly meatier than a chicken, but we could probably butcher him the same way–except we’d have four legs instead of two.  Then we’d soak him in buttermilk all night, batter him up, then get the grease hot.  How hard could it be?  We’d serve him with gravy and biscuits.

I’ve got other ideas.  Maybe groundhog ice cream for dessert?  Groundhog pie perhaps, like a spicey mincemeat.  Groundhog tacos might taste a little like goat, maybe?

Whatever we do, the groundhog needs to die and winter must end.

images from whnt.com and blog.indiewire.com

THE BEST STEW I’VE EVER MADE

The title of this blog post says it all.  Last night I simply made the best stew I’ve ever concocted.  It was not only the best stew I’ve ever made, it was also in the top 10 things I’ve ever eaten.  That is how good it was.

It all started on Wednesday night as I was preparing food for one of my small groups.  Our theme was biblical food.  Not wanting to bring fig newtons or a bowl full of locust, I decided to pan cook some savory lamp chops.  Since lamb is so expensive, I cut it into little pieces, off the bone, and served them like appetizers with toothpicks.  They were yummy.  But, I had these lamb bones left over.  What to do?

What to do?  Stew!

Here is what I did.

1.  I heated my dutch oven with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, rosemary, sweet basil, garlic, cloves, allspice, and let that come to a nice sizzle.

2.  To the lamb bones I added more hunks of lamb chomp and a pound and a half of stew meat (beef) and put the same chorus of spices on it.

3.  I browned the meat–lamb bones, lamb, and stew meat in the dutch oven and then added four cups of beef broth and three bay leaves.  I just used canned broth but homemade would have been better.

4.  I brought that to a boil and then I covered it, reduced heat (to about 4 on my stove top knob) and let it simmer for three hours, stirring occasionally.

5.  At the end of three hours, I removed the bones and, after letting them cool, I picked the meat off those bones.  It was a considerable amount of meat, and it came off very easy.  I put the meat back into the dutch oven and fished the bay leaves out.

6.  I added 6 potatoes peeled and cut into bite size chunks along with 5 carrots (peeled and diced) and 4 stalks of celery (diced).

7.  After adding the veggies, I added enough water to cover them (about 2 cups maybe?) then covered with the lid and cooked for another hour.

8.  10 minutes before serving, I added one bag of frozen peas and carrots.  It just wouldn’t be stew without that, now would it?

I served the stew simply with crackers and a loaf of french bread from the Albertsons.  The flavor was spectacular.  I was a little worried about the mingling of the lamb and beef, but after the four hours in the dutch oven together, they sang with sweet harmony.