Just Winter Things
Winter can be a depressing time of year, short days, colder, and often extended grey bleak periods. But we do also get those wonderful clear calm sunny days that make such a difference. And one of the really neat things winter gives us is marvellous sunrises. Well we get great sunrises throughout the year, but in winter the sun rises directly in front of Sails Ashore and just as we are getting up. Which often isn’t all that early. It being winter and all !!
Stewart Island / Rakiura… the name
Rakiura or more properly “Te raki o te uraka o Te Rakitamau” is the Maori name for Stewart Island, the short translation being “Land of Glowing Skies” and our sunrises & sets, rainbows and Aurora can be spectacular. But as always there is a story attached. Many years ago Te Rakitamau , an old Maori Chief who apparently lived on the mainland, lost his wife. Widower hood did not sit well… winters can be cold… and he’d heard there were two Wahine (young women) on Stewart Island who would make good wives. Two were apparently better than one… keep warm both sides …. and so he came down to claim these two girls. The story tells us that one was already promised, and the other turned him down flat. And now we see his deep blushes of rage and humiliation in our skies.
Hearty Winter Venison
I like eating and having been raised on a Southland farm, enjoy my meat.
A friend gave us a leg of white-tail venison they had shot in Paterson Inlet. Now Iris & I both love venison and buy venison steaks from a Te Anau supplier. But a leg can be a bit of a problem, as I find it hard to roast without becoming very dry. So had a bit of a think about that and the following recipe is the result.
Cut the leg into sections across the bone that will fit into a slow cooker and retain one portion, the rest going into the freezer. nb. Whitetail is a small animal. A very large leg may be too big to fit a slow cooker even after cutting down.
Peel and slice sufficient onions to put a reasonable layer in the bottom of a slow cooker, and turn cooker onto high.
Roll the venison in flour and heavily braise in a pan, using a good cooking oil. Don’t skimp the oil, as venison has very little fat. Transfer venison into slow cooker and add 50/50 cider vinegar and a good beef stock to about 80% of the top of the meat. Add a good tablespoon of honey and a cup or so of chopped carrots heavily browned in the braising pan. If the pan isn’t burned some of the cider/beef stock can be simmered briefly in the pan and returned to the stock pot. Once the slow cooker is actively simmering turn to low and leave for at least 5 or 6 hours… longer is better. Ladle liquid over meat every hour or so.
About 90 minutes before due to serve peel as many potatoes as will easily fit into the stock pot well into the liquid and continue cooking with the meat.
Carefully lift out the meat and potatoes and keep warm before serving.
Using a “stick” whiz the liquid, onions and carrots. This should result in a good gravy. (the cooked onions and carrots become the thickening) If a bit thin, whizz in some flour to suit and transfer to a suitable pot and bring briefly to the boil.
This works very well with mutton as well, though as mutton is usually well endowed with fat, less oil should be used when braising, and ladling out excess fat off the top before whizzing into gravy is a good idea.
You can find more of our recipes at www.sailsashore.co.nz
…. Peter & Iris, Sails Ashore
11 View St,
64 3 219 1151
0800 783 9278