This is the time of year when our thoughts are often focused on shopping lists and to-do lists, rather than getting outdoors, but we should all make sure that is one thing that is on all of our lists. Time spent outside, no matter what you’re doing – hunting, fishing, hiking, boiling up, or at the wood – is a remedy for much of what this hectic time of year has in store for us.
For those days, and there will be many, when the weather keeps you house-bound, make sure your November/December issue of the Newfoundland Sportsman Magazine is on your shopping list. In it you’ll find a great collection of hunting stories including our feature article this month from our Editor Gord Follett all about our good friend Peter Tucker’s latest bear hunt. Check that article out here.
And speaking of shopping, a subscription to our magazine makes an excellent stocking stuffer. Click here to tick a few names off your list.
Field to Table
Stuffed Moose Heart
By Maurice Boudreau
If you are a lucky moose licence holder or close acquaintance of one, this recipe could come in handy, depending on your shot placement. Now I’m sure there are a good few out there who only want the mince or sausages and couldn’t care less about the other stuff. Can’t blame ya. It’s all delicious, though. And when it comes to the rare cuts like the heart, tongue or even the cheeks – yes, the cheeks – it is these only once-a-year meals that make them extra special and really get me excited to take care with cooking them.
I know the go-to, old faithful dressing is basically savory and bread crumbs, but in an attempt to introduce people to new ingredients, I thought I would try it with some slightly spiced chorizo sausage and some locally foraged stinging nettles. Nettles are bold and sometimes sweet ingredient that grow in the spring but can be foraged, blanched and frozen for use throughout the year.
There is a local restaurant in St. John’s called Chinched, which makes the best stinging nettle chorizo sausage you’ll ever try! Because it pairs well with a spicy sausage, it made sense to break it out for our treat meal at the cabin. If you don’t have nettles you can easily substitute with some fresh chopped spinach.
1 Moose heart, rinsed and trimmed
1 Onion, diced
1 Clove garlic, minced
2 Cups bread crumbs
1/2 Cup Chorizo sausage, small dice
¼ Cup stinging nettles, blanched and chopped
2 Tbls butter
Salt & pepper
1 Litre game/beef stock
¼ Cup unsalted butter
¼ Cup flour
1 Tbls fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
- For the stinging nettles: Boil a small pot of salted water. Carefully add the nettles and stir. After 30-60 seconds, drain and run under cold water until cool. They can now be touched bare-handed, so give them a rough chop.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic and chorizo sausage. Cook for approx 5 minutes.
- Add the nettles to the sausage/onion mixture and stir.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cooked mixture and season with salt and pepper.
- For the moose heart: The goal is to make it as flat as possible, add the filling, roll it back up and tie it with butcher’s twine to secure its shape. Find a muscle seam and start cutting along the line, aiming to separate the two muscles. Once the heart is “unrolled,” rinse it well to remove and blood clots or impurities. Make sure to trim any thick veins from the top of the heart. With the outside of the heart touching the board, season the inside with salt and pepper. Using your hands, squeeze the filling together into a ball and try and wrap the heart around it. Using the butcher’s twine, gently tie a couple pieces around to secure it from busting apart during the cooking. Don’t tie the strings too tight, as it will do more harm than good.
- Place the heart in a casserole dish and in the oven set to 350 degrees for 1-1.5 hours. Make sure to baste it regularly after the first 30 minutes.
- For the gravy: Melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour and mix. Once combined, slowly add the stock, stirring with a whisk continuously. Let this liquid come to a boil, add the thyme, season and simmer for 10 minutes. If it’s too thick, add more stock; if too thin, then leave it simmer a little longer.
Now, unless you’re Gord Follett and you see a dozen hearts and tongues coming across the desk, maybe trying new things aren’t for you. I cooked this up at the cabin for an “old school” crowd on the eve of our hunt and the consensus was, “Yes now!” “That’s dandy!” “Nettles?” “Some tasty, wha?”
I can say I was equally surprised it went over as well with them as it did. So next time you got one in the sights, cross your toes and hope ya don’t hit the heart.
The March/April Cover features Cameron Gosse about to release a beautiful Salmon on the Pinware River in Labrador.
Photo of the Week
What a great catch off Winterton, Trinity Bay! Sent in by Camryn Green. Send us your photos for your chance to be our Photo of the Week and win a free subscription to The Newfoundland Sportsman. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org