Wednesday, November 18, 2009

deer camp soup {tuesday night supper club}

During the 3 minutes of fall weather that we had this past week, I started thinking about soup.
I heart soup
And then it warmed up
...but my taste buds don't know anything about atmospheric temperature
So I was still craving soup

I married a hunter.
Have I mentioned that about 100 times already? is relevant to the story.
When he was a kid his father used to make what they called deer camp soup.
It was what they ate at deer camp.
Now mind you...I grew up in Los Angeles.  For me camp was where city kids went in the summer to sing songs and earn leathers.  The first time I heard deer camp I was slightly confused.  I thought perhaps it was DEAR a place that he really longed for or that was expensive. But then I thought...that is not how my husband talks.
So I asked... a sort of way that made me feel like a complete and total Chrissy....
me: So...what goes on at this camp for deer?
him: Huh?
him: camp for deer?
him: city girl
me: nevermind
I caught on...eventually....after writing letters to his family in Camp Douglas.  What is it with the liberal use of the word-slash-action camp?
Mike had very fond memories of this soup and wanted me to recreate it.  Here is the direction I received. It's tomatoey and I know it has tomato juice in it....and chunks of tomato...and meat..and some sort of beans....but it is very tomatoey.
Well...that's a start
Then one summer in Alaska we were going camping (notice the proper use of the word) and king salmon fishing.  And we set up camp, along side Willow Creek. And it was a bit cold, even for July. And I thought, this would be a great day for soup.  So I started concocting. By the time the guys arrived with their prizes in hand...

...I had something pretty good. And very welcomed.
I have played with the recipe a bit since then...making it a bit more spicy. But you can fine tune it to whatever you like.  It is basic and simple...and a whole meal in one bowl.
Deer Camp Soup
(printable recipe)
slug of olive oil
1/2 large onion--diced in small pieces
2 cloves garlic--finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef 
(i used ground venison for this particular batch)
3 cups Mr and Mrs T's bloody mary mix
4 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 tsp lemon pepper (optional)
1-15oz can kidney beans--drained
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
2-3 dashes worcestershire sauce
pinch cayenne (optional)
hot sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Pour enough olive oil in the bottom of a heated pot, to coat in a thin layer.  Drop in onions and cook until translucent and starting to brown.  Drop in the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add beef or venison and cook, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink. Drain if there is fat at the bottom of the pan. If you use venison, you can skip this part.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes allowing all the flavors to meld.  Taste for spice, salt and pepper.
If it is too thick for your liking add chicken stock or water.

I served mine with a cheesy crouton, but that is totally optional. It is great with saltines or oyster crackers crumbled on top.
Eat up!


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