One of the things I really enjoy about Sweden is the access to wild meats. Moose, wild boar, reindeer, and venison are readily available in supermarkets. The cost is generally comparable to beef and you can get wild meats ground or in the form of roasts. I don’t have a lot of experience with wild game, but when its not extraordinarily priced it’s fun to experiment with it and expand my horizons.
Gryta (GREE-tuh), or stew, is common fall and winter fare in Sweden as in many regions with cold winters. But the fun part of making stew here is including the wild meats and chanterelles that can be hunted in the Swedish forests. Another interesting ingredient I hadn’t used before is parsley root. Although rare in the U.S. it is a common root vegetable in central European cuisine. It looks like a white parsnip and has a somewhat dry texture with a kind of celery, parsley-like taste that is overall very intriguing. If you can’t find it, celeraic, parsnips, turnips or carrots are good substitutes.
An ingredient that I love here are the fonds. They are essentially concentrated liquid stock flavors that can be used in the place of bullion cubes. In this recipe I used the viltfond (wild stock). It also comes in chanterelle, beef, veal, lobster, shellfish, fish, chicken, and vegetable. I will really miss these if I ever move away.
In my efforts to experiment a bit more with moose (I was not keen on the ground patties I made last week) I bought a moose roast and perused some classic Swedish gryta recipes. I took the parts I liked the best from the recipes and combined them with the simplest preparation. I love the combination of the tastes of the forest between the moose meat, chanterelle and juniper berries. The result is an earthy, wild, comforting stew that goes well with mashed potatoes, rice, or wide egg noodles.
for the marinade:
2 cups (480ml) red wine
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 teaspoons juniper berries, crushed
1 bay leaf, crushed
for the stew:
1 1/2 pounds (700g) moose roast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (480ml) red wine
4 tablespoons viltfond (or 2 beef bullion cubes)
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 1/2 (360ml) cups water
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
3 medium carrots, thickly sliced on diagonal
2 small parsley root, sliced on diagonal
7 shallots, peeled and halved
8 ounces (250g) chanterelles
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Place the moose meat in a sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Set the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for 8-12 hours.
2. Remove the meat from the marinade, pat dry, and cut into bite-sized cubes. Discard the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Quickly brown the meat, working in small batches and placing batches aside if necessary to avoid crowding the pan.
3. Once the meat is browned, place it all back into the pot. Add the red wine, viltfond (or bullion cubes), juniper berries and water to the pot. Mix the flour with just enough water to make a smooth slurry. Add it to the pot. Cook everything at a gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes until the meat is nearly done.
4. While the stew is cooking, heat half of the butter in a frying pan and saute the carrots, parsley root, and shallots over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Add to the stew during the final 10 minutes or so of cooking.
5. Add the remaining butter to the same frying pan used for the other vegetables and cook the chanterelles until they begin to soften. Add them to the pot in the last five minutes of cooking along with the fresh thyme.
6. Serve the stew hot either with mashed potatoes, rice, or wide egg noodles.