This past summer, we were busy putting up as much food as we could for the anticipated long winter. Starting in March, we began starting seeds indoors. In April, we were preparing our garden beds for a productive summer growing season. May brought lots of transplanting and mulching. June was the month of slaying salmon, where we dedicated a four-day weekend to catching, heading, gutting, fileting and freezing 35 Copper River sockeyes. July saw us harvesting our first crop of vegetables. August was time for caribou hunting. Then September left us elbow deep in apples, berries, and pickling juice. To say the least, we have been busy playing with our food.
Now that our freezer needs a weight to be held shut, and our pantry is brimming with mason jars, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. With over 70 fillets of salmon, 20 pounds of halibut, 70 pounds of caribou meat, and fresh backyard chicken eggs, we have been working hard to dress up these proteins to keep our home-cooked meals exciting. Depending on what you harvested this year, you might be facing the same culinary challenge. Can you eat salmon four nights per week? Maybe, if you switch up the recipe every time!
From fajita meat to burger, halibut chunks and caribou backstrap, we’ve had a blast dressing up these meats that we worked so hard to procure. I hope you enjoy whipping up some of these recipes to enjoy your hard-earned winter meals.
Carrot Top Chimichurri
Recipe adapted from Love and Lemons
Image courtesy of Food 52
As anyone who grows carrots knows, you frequently end up with more carrot top than you do carrot. Not wanting to let anything go to waste, we turned our Alaska-sized carrot tops into more than a dozen jars of chimichurri, and it has become our favorite addition to steak night.
Ingredients (makes about 6 half pint jars)
6 cups packed carrot tops (mix in as much or as little parsley as you like)
4 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons ground sweet paprika
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 teaspoons salt
Quite a few grinds of pepper
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
Wash and dry your carrot greens well.
Place washed greens into your food processor or blender, and pulse to finely chop the
greens. Add the garlic to mince as well. Add the seasonings, oil and vinegar and combine by
mixing for about one minute. You should end up with a thick, almost pesto-consistency paste.
Spoon the chimichurri into small mason jars and freeze for steak nights all winter long.
Serve with grilled backstrap, roasted potatoes, and a large glass of Malbec.
Tartar sauce likely conjures up images of fish and chips in a basket; however, this sauce can be paired with any cut of salmon, halibut, rockfish, or really any seafood for that matter. We used homemade mayonnaise and pickles from the garden, but that’s just because we are huge food nerds 😉
Ingredients (makes plenty for two people to enjoy all week)
1/2 cup olive-oil-based mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1 teaspoon chopped capers
1 rounded teaspoon of grainy dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 heavy pinches of dill
A few dashes of hot sauce
Large pinch of sea salt
Couple grinds of black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a fork, whipping a bit to combine. Serve with grilled salmon or pan-seared halibut chunks, wrapped in butter lettuce leaves. These make a great hand-held appetizer or light dinner meal.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Gordon
Red Currant Sauce
Our cranberry bush didn’t put out any berries this year, but we did harvest about twenty pounds of currants. This sauce is great as a stand in for cranberries at Thanksgiving or served over a venison leg roast with mashed sweet potatoes. It has a chewier consistency than cranberry sauce because of the seeds, so feel free to toss the whole batch in the blender when it is finished cooking to puree the sauce.
24 ounces of frozen or fresh red currants, stems removed
1 cup white sugar
Zest from one whole orange and one whole lemon
Dash of cinnamon
Place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, until the currants have burst and you have a thick, spoonable sauce. Serve over roasted meat such as turkey or venison.
Photo courtesy of Swiss Paleo
I love horseradish on a ribeye (who doesn’t?), but was always disappointed to see store-bought horseradish is loaded with modified food starch and corn or soybean oil. I stumbled upon a horseradish root at my local grocery store, and took to preparing my own horseradish for steaks. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT stick your nose in the blender or jar to see how it smells unless you want to clear out your sinuses in a hurry. This stuff is as strong as it gets!
1 horseradish root (about eight to ten inches in length)
1 white turnip
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
Wash and peel both the turnip and horseradish root. Chop into one inch chunks and place in a high powered blender or food processor. Chop the turnip and horseradish as best you can, then add the vinegar and sea salt. If you don’t yet have a smooth, thick consistency, add a tablespoon of water at a time while the blender is still running. Continue until the paste is thick, but not runny. Spoon into very small, two- to four-ounce jars and freeze until ready to serve with steaks. This will keep in the fridge for two to three weeks, but a little goes a long way!
Photo courtesy of Serious Eats
With a little creativity, we are hoping to want for nothing besides what we’ve tucked away in our freezer and our pantry for the long winter ahead here in Alaska. I hope these recipes help dress up your meals all winter long!
About the Author:
Heather Kelly is the creator of Heather’s Choice Meals for Adventuring. Inspired by her personal backcountry trips, Heather strives to create healthy, delicious meals and snacks for folks headed out on epic adventures. You can order her meals and snacks online at heatherschoice.com and use the coupon code JOMH to save 10% off your next order.