Bicentennial Buffet

In the kitchen with Lewis and Clark.

Field & Stream Online Editors

July 5 marks the 200th anniversary of the departure of the Lewis and Clark expedition-a perfect excuse for a shindig. As for the menu, we recommend fish and game. With the recent release of The Lewis & Clark Cookbook by Leslie Mansfield (Ten Speed Press, 800-841-2665), you can make the meal historically accurate.

There are many choices. The corps commonly dined on elk, antelope, bison, bear, bighorn sheep, duck, goose, grouse, trout, and salmon (not to mention crow, coyote, gopher, turtle, and dog-purchased from Indians). But for the sake of availability (and Fido's well-being), we offer the following recipe for venison, taken from Mansfield's book. To be truly historically accurate, serve each guest 9 pounds of meat. That's the amount each man in the expedition ate daily, when meat was at hand. **Venison Shanks Braised with Fennel and Onions **

Ingredients:
6 venison shanks (front shoulder steaks)
salt and pepper
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
2/3 cup red currant jelly
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme
2 bulbs fennel, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, sliced

Season shanks with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, thoroughly brown them in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Add the beef stock, red currant jelly, red wine vinegar, garlic, and herbs. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 11/2 hours. Then add the fennel, onion, and carrots. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes longer. Move the venison and vegetables to a platter, leaving the broth in the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and reduce the broth until it has the consistency of a sauce. Skim off any fat, pour sauce over the venison and vegetables, and serve.