The Washington Post

Hunter's Stew

Hunter's Stew 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Nourish Jan 26, 2023

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.

Active time: 40 mins; Total time: 2 hours 40 mins

Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

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

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings; 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)


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.

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.

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.

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.

Recipe Source

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.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (about 1 cup stew), based on 6: 325

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 161mg 54%

Sodium: 416mg 17%

Total Carbohydrates: 7g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 46g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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