What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Venison stew ... Oh boy!!!

Okay. I know it has been a very long time since my last blog post. I'm sorry about that. Things have been more than a little strange the last few months.

Anyway, last week, a friend of ours quite unexpectedly made us a fantastic gift of about fifty pounds of venison. Wow!!!! Trust me, it could NOT have come at a better time.

So, yesterday afternoon I made a mulligan-type stew from one piece of it.

I started with piece of meat, about a half-pound or a bit more, which I cut into small pieces.

About a half-pound of cubed venison

I then took those pieces and dredged them in flour.

Venison dredged in flour

I melted some butter, couple tablespoons maybe, in the bottom of my two-quart pot. (I wasn't making a big batch, but I still should have used a bigger pot.) I then browned the pieces of meat in the butter, stirring and turning constantly until evenly browned.

Floured venison browning in butter

I took a whole onion and a large stick of celery, diced them up finely, and sauteed them in butter until nice and soft. I added them to the pot along with the meat.

I added about a quart of water, two beef bullion cubes, a large pinch of Montreal Steak Seasoning, and about a tablespoon of rendered bacon fat, brought it to a boil, and then slowed it down to a slow simmer for about forty-five minutes.

While the meat was simmering, I took a large handful of fresh green beans, and snapped them into about one inch pieces. I peeled and chopped two large carrots. I also cut up about six very small potatoes. 

Vegetables waiting to be cut up
I then added the pile of veggies to the simmered meat, added a little more water, and brought the pot back to a slow simmer. I let it cook for about another half hour.

I took about a half-cup of broth and mixed it with about a couple heaping spoons of cornstarch, then stirred this thickening agent back into the pot. After a couple of minutes it had thickened up nicely, and was ready to go!

While I was busy with this, the Debster made a pot of bow-tie pasta. The venison stew served over the pasta was absolutely wonderful. I don't know if it was absolutely the best cooking I've ever done, but it comes close, for sure!

Note to self: When oiling my blade* after using it, I must be careful. Failure to do so can result in unplanned blood, fingers held under running water while wife grabs BIG bandaids and antiseptic cream.

As someone I know likes to say, a Mora knife never gets dull. It only gets less sharp.

*The blade is made of high-carbon steel, not stainless steel, and so if it isn't kept oiled, it will rust easily. I normally wipe on a light coat of vegetable oil, or, occasionally, a bit of butter or animal fat.

Cheers! Until the next time,
Ron and the Debster, signing off!

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