Dr John's (approximated) Raccoon Stew, w Venison
One of musician Dr . John's favorite foods was Raccoon Stew. When he passed in 2019, we created this version of his Raccoon stew recipe using ingredients we had available to us in Brooklyn, NY.
- 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1.5 cups chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 lbs venison medallions (stew meat)
- 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
- 3/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 leek, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1.5 - 2 cups (mostly) skinned and chopped zucchini
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
- 6 green onions, chopped
- hot sauce! preferably, Louisiana style Crystal
- Crusty Bread
Prep: set venison in water to thaw (if needed), and wash/chop all vegetables, keeping the garlic and onions separate, but the rest can all go in one bowl.
Heat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat.. Using 1 tsp of salt, salt the meat and keep aside. When hot, add grapeseed oil, add the onions. Stir to coat and cook until beginning to become translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant. Then add the medallion pieces, initially stirring to coat. but then allowing all sides of the meat to brown.
Once browned on all sides, add enough vegetable juice to cover the meat and continue to cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Note: adjust the heat per your stove and pot: the aim is to keep it between a simmer and boiling.
Then add all the chopped veggies, lemon juice and enough water to submerge everything. cook for an additional 30 minutes until veggies begin to get soft and/or dissolve, and meat is very tender. Add salt, and taste, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.
Serve garnished with chopped green onions and hot sauce, and some good crusty bread on the side.
You'll notice that we adjusted the amount of veggies down some to be proportionate to 2 lbs (already $40) of venison. Increasing amount of veggies is welcome, you'll just need a tad more water and salt to taste.
As with any stew, if you have time to let it sit you will be rewarded when flavors better meld.
And make sure you have Crystal hot sauce on hand!