The Essence

Living and growing a family in the North awards you with a real and tangible connection to the land. As a mother of 5 and as a home baker and wannabe chef, it is this connection that seeps into everything - motherhood, food, harvesting, and experiencing the very heartbeat of the bit of earth that sustains us.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Caribou Stroganoff

I love this time of year. The sky is blue, you can finally feel some of the suns warmth again, and most of all, the light comes back. The length of the day will continue to increase until the summer solstice in June, when we will have virtually 24 hour a day light. I love it.

As the light returns, it is easy to push routines and schedules aside. The kids are happy outside roaming the neighbourhood, I hate to mess with happiness to call them in for dinner. And so it begins - the late evenings climbing snow hills, playing road hockey, walking dogs, sitting around a backyard fire with friends drinking wine. The lazy mornings when we all just want to sleep in and I don't even care that the kids are late to school everyday. The build up to summer.

Who wants to think about making dinner when you are sitting on your deck, feeling the heat in the suns rays, sipping on a Twisted Tea? Dinner creeps up on me during this time of year, when we are stuck between being tied to routines dictated by the school day, and the urgent calling of schedule-less (is that a word?) summers, of camping beside my favourite lakes and throwing the kids a hot dog while I eat homemade salsa with tortilla chips for dinner. I can't wait. School in the North really should be wrapped up by the 1st of May.

And so it happened that the kids finally made their way home at 8pm after leaving the house at 10am. As they called up the stairwell, "What's for dinner mom?!" I thought, "Crap". One of my go to meals for times like this is Stroganoff. I can have it on the table in less than half an hour, even when the burger is still frozen. My mother made this a lot for us when we were kids - maybe it was her go to meal for the "Holy crap it's 8 o clock, we haven't had dinner and I have to get the kids to bed ASAP so they don't cut into the Me Time" too.

I pulled the last bag of ground Caribou out of the freezer than was left from a little bull TJ and Emily harvested in the mountains off horseback last summer. I see more August Caribou hunting this year!

Start with some ground red meat, beef or moose or caribou or elk or deer or bear or.....So many options!

Brown that up in a fry pan while you chop up some onion and garlic. I love the garlic in a big jar.

Mix that all together, add some salt and pepper. Then add the first secret ingredient, a can of cream of chicken soup. Add a can of milk or water too, to make it a creamy consistency.

Next comes the second secret ingredient, a tub of sour cream. This is not a time to be worried about fat content. Remember, your trying to get a quick dinner on the table!

Mix that up and add some chicken bouillon. I love the liquid kind, because I don't have to dissolve it in water and because it is concentrated, for maximum flavour. This is not a time to be worried about salt content either.

Mix that up and let it bubble away on low heat. In the meantime, get out the chop chop salad that you have in the fridge. Chop chop salad is our new favourite thing. Especially the Italian kind. It is a salad kit with chopped up cabbage and kale and broccoli and other good stuff, with sundried tomatoes and herbs and Parmesan and dressing. Yummy.

Put some broccoli or some other vegetable on to steam, and boil up some pasta. For stroganoff, I usually use fettuccini or egg noodles, but I didn't have either of those so I used rotini. Kids like a meal based on the noodle shape, anyways, and you can't go wrong with rotini right?
And 30 minutes or so later, viola! Even though I didn't start until 8pm, kids can still eat and be in bed by 9, and I can still have a couple of hours of Me Time. Perfect. 

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