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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adventures in meat eating

I'm fresh back from a week-long stay on the northern Labrador coast.  (A full post on the trip is yet to come.)  While I had a lot of memorable experiences there, the tastiest experiences involved wild game, and lots of it.  I had no idea when I arrived in Natuashish, with my cooler of sandwich fixin's and instant coffee, that I would be setting out on such a culinary adventure.


[caribou stew]

This caribou stew supper warmed us up after our first full day on the coast.  Our generous co-workers made sure we were very well fed.  Check out the ingredients:  fall-apart, tender caribou; carrots; turnip; cabbage; and a delicious biscuit topping - part dumpling, part crust.

I unfortunately have no photos of the Jigg's dinner we had on the second night.  Four years in Newfoundland and it took a trip to northern Labrador to try a Jigg's dinner!  Ours consisted of potato, cabbage, carrot, turnip, bread pudding, and salt beef.  It is similar to what Prince Edward Islanders would call a boiled dinner... except for the salt beef.  After stewing the beef a few times and pouring off the water in between, it is boiled along with all of the above ingredients.  At this point the beef is approximately 100 times saltier than beef jerky.  Wow.  Lip-puckering.  Yet somehow addictive.

The next night was entitled "wild game night".  Check out the menu:

BBQ caribou

[barbecue caribou roast]

The caribou was insanely tender (as it was in the stew).  My dinner companions insisted that Labrador caribou is a much less "gamey" than Newfoundland caribou.  I had previously tried a caribou steak medallion in St. John's, and I remember it being very tough.  The Labradorian caribou was literally fork-tender and very lean.  Delicious as well.  For me, the taste fell somewhere between beef and lamb.

Szechuan rabbit

[Szechuan-style rabbit]

The rabbit was also wild and snared in the area.  The meat was originally bottled, but for our meal it was simmered in a spicy sauce and served hot.  It, too, was amazingly tender and lean.  The taste was actually pine-y.

Stuffed spruce partridges
[stuffed and roasted spruce partridge]

The partridge was really something different.  It was lovingly prepared with a bread/rice/Italian-sausage stuffing and a nice salty rub.  The meat:  shockingly dark!  The breast meat of the partridge was darker than beef.  So imagine how dark the dark meat was!  The meat had the same pine-y taste as the rabbit, but concentrated.  The rich flavour reminded me of taking a hike deep in the woods after a recent rainfall - like earth and evergreen needles.  The lean meat theme continued here.

I couldn't thank my co-workers enough for their hospitality and culinary chops!  This past week is certainly going to have a prominent place in my food memory.

Now, please share with me - what is the most unique meat you've ever tried, and where?  What did it taste like?


Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

Bull Frog legs, Ottawa, chicken like

Great post Laura !!

Sarah said...Best Blogger Tips

You make it all sounds so yummy I almost forget how much I hate caribou meat!

Laura said...Best Blogger Tips


You should try it again. Make sure it's Labradorian!

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