Hunter's Stew on a table in a Studio
(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post)
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Hunter's Stew

This earthy and sumptuous stew, adapted from "The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen" by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley, reflects the way of eating that Native Americans thrived on for generations before Europeans arrived. Traditionally made with naturally lean, exceptionally eco-friendly game meat, along with a savory mix of dried and fresh mushrooms and onions, seasoned with sumac, juniper and oregano, and served over bright orange mashed squash, it makes for a beautiful and nourishing meal. You can use any stew cut of game meat you have access to, but if you are relying on the grocery store, your best options will probably be farmed bison, venison or lamb.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Juniper berries and sumac can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, spice shops and online.

Adapted by cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger from “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooely (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).


measuring cup
Servings: 4-6 (makes about 6 cups)
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, such as chanterelles, trumpet, morels or any type you choose
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil, or another neutral oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds stew meat from bison, lamb or any game meat such as venison, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground juniper berries (may substitute 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks, or diced yellow onions or shallots
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, plus additional leaves for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Mashed cooked winter squash, for serving (optional)


Time Icon Active: 40 mins| Total: 2 hours 40 mins
  1. Step 1

    In a small bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with the boiling water and let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid; chop the mushrooms.

  2. Step 2

    In a large, heavy, lidded pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Pat the meat dry and season with the juniper and salt. Working in two to three batches to avoid overcrowding, add the meat to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, 5 to 15 minutes per batch, depending on the type of meat. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

  3. Step 3

    Reduce the heat to medium, add the leeks, onions or shallots, fresh mushrooms, oregano and sumac, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the mushrooms release some of their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid, followed by the broth, stirring to dislodge any brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan.

  4. Step 4

    Return the meat to the pot, along with any accumulated juices, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the stew is at a low simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Taste, and season with more salt and/or sumac if desired. Serve with the mashed squash, if using, garnished with oregano leaves.

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (about 1 cup stew), based on 6

  • Calories


  • Carbohydrates

    7 g

  • Cholesterol

    161 mg

  • Fat

    12 g

  • Fiber

    1 g

  • Protein

    46 g

  • Saturated Fat

    3 g

  • Sodium

    416 mg

  • Sugar

    2 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted by cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger from “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooely (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

Tested by Hattie Ulan