Cooking Wild Recipe: Moose Hunter’s Special Meaty Onion Soup

Here’s a mouthwatering onion soup that’s loaded with tender chunks of moose meat and is hearty enough to stand alone as the full meal deal.

Traditional French-style onion soup recipes are typically made with beef stock but contain no meat. They are excellent as first course fare but, in my opinion, not as delicious or as filling as this moose hunter’s special that’s loaded with tender chunks of lean moose making it hearty enough to come to the table as the full meal deal.

I usually make this soup out of a hefty moose round steak, not because other venison members aren’t just as delicious done-up in onion soup fashion but because a moose yields such a wonderful big bounty of steaks that I don’t feel guilty about cutting one up for the soup pot! Of course, any stew-cut venison that’s well trimmed of fat can be used in place of moose steak with good results.

The biggest secret to making a richly flavoured onion soup lays hidden in a little French cooking technique known as “caramelizing the onions” — or browning them, as I tend to say, before adding liquid to the pot. It’s an important step to creating a gourmet soup so don’t skip it!

You can use homemade or store-bought beef stock in this recipe but I like to use real moose stock. When butchering a moose, I save choice bones and meaty trims and freeze them in bundles to be used for stock making.

To make moose stock, simply put a package of saved-up bones and meat trims into the stock pot, add some vegetables — celery, onion, carrot, turnip or whatever is in the veggie bin, along with herbs, salt and pepper, cover with water and simmer for several hours. Then strain, cool and freeze. I use it in place of beef stock in this and other recipes where game meat, especially moose, is being featured.

A gourmet onion soup recipe almost always calls for a splash of a red wine. I use homemade blueberry wine from my cellar, which compliments the moose meat very nicely but any red wine will do.

So now it’s time to “soup up” your next moose supper! To authentically serve this soup, you really do need to have some ovenproof soup bowls on hand. This makes about eight individual-sized servings. Leftover bowls of soup, which are seldom seen at my table for a big appetite can easily devour a second bowl, can be held in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen for future use.

Meaty Onion Soup

  • 1 to 2 pound moose steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 yellow-skinned cooking onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 8 cups moose or beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced basil (or dried basil to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • French or other crusty bread
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ cups grated Swiss or Mozzarella cheese mixed with three tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil and butter in soup pot, sauté meat and onions over low heat until the meat juices have been released and the onions have turned golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Add the garlic and sprinkle in the sugar, cook another minute or two.

Add stock, wine and basil. Cover and simmer about two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and adding a splash more wine if needed to keep from going too thick. Soup should be fairly thick, but not stew! Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into oven-proof soup bowls, leaving about one-inch headspace. Toast as many rounds of French bread as needed in order to place one slice atop each bowl. Rub the toast with garlic before setting it on the soup. Sprinkle the toast generously with cheese.

Heat broiler to 350 Fahrenheit. Place the prepared bowls on a baking sheet and broil for about five minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden. Serve.

Looking for another great moose recipe? CLICK HERE.

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