CLOUDY, COLD SKIES,
AND VENISON STEW
The last Sunday in Epiphany celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration.
Jesus, fully God and fully Man, has been called by his Father to make a cataclysmic decision.
He takes Peter, James and John outside of town to:
" a high place, apart by themselves and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exeedingly white like snow, as no fuller on earth can whiten them. And there appeared Eiljah and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus....
And there was a cloud that overshadowed them;and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my beloved, listen to him."
- Matt. 9: 2-4,7
He must choose to sacrifice himself for all creation...or return to His Father's side while all creation continues to wander in darkness, separated from God.
He makes the choice. Jesus chooses to accept and do God's will.
In this present age, we Christians celebrate that decision, knowing that Jesus made that decision and, from that point on, He turned his countenance towards Jerusalem... towards the inevitable sacrifice on the Cross.
It is inevitable for one reason:
Jesus chose to accept God's will. That, beloved, is the same decision to which our Father God calls each of us.
- Toss that little bit of information about in your gray matter.
- Chew on it while you enjoy the freedoms and liberty afforded us in this country.
Ask the wife or child or parent who has buried a loved one killed in action in the defense of these United States. They who chose to give their lives as a sacrifice to serve and protect our lives, our borders and our heritage.
Talk to the families of those police and firefighters who died saving their fellow citizen's lives on September 11th, 2001.
Walk the southern border with the men and women who have chosen to put their lives in harms way to defend our way of life.
It is a choice we are called to each day, ensconsed as we are in the gentle freedoms afforded us by lives given in sacrifice...even the One who saves us all, Jesus Christ.
I defrosted a pound of venison trimmed from steaks and roasts. When I opened the packet, the clean frangrance of the high plains rose up. I was engaged by the fragrance of sage and corn, sunflowers and winter wheat. Like spice, the bitter and alkaline dust tickled my nose. This is clean, fresh meat. There are no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no feed lot silage....and no fat!
Add an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a couple of celery stalks, and some root veges. I had taters and carrots on hand.
In Grandpa Woody's Dutch Oven, I heated about two tablespoons of bacon fat. While the fat heated, I dusted the venison chunks in flour spiced with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Just as the fat began to smoke, I dumped the floured meat into the pan....stiring frequently.
Once the meat was browned on all sides, I added about a cup of wine and Worchestershire sauce, maybe a tablespoon or two.
Coarse chop the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and taters while the venison simmers in the melieu of bacon, wine and fish sauce, reducing the liquid by about half.
Stir in the onion, garlic and celery and allow to simmer, stirring frequently until the onions turn translucent. Enjoy a bit of the wine and the fragrant nose rising from the ol' Dutch oven.
Add in the chopped root veges and enough water to create a thick gavy, stir frequently until the liquid begins to simmer. Since this is Southwest cuisine, I add a couple of tablespoons of Mexican oregano, about one tablespoon of ground cumin and the same amount of sweet Chimayo or Hatch powdered red chile.
Cover and let simmer for about an hour. The delightful and heady fragrance will fill the house.
Serve with fresh bread or biscuits or my favorite, warm flour tortillas.
Oh, and a nice glass of Cabernet or Sangiovese, or whatever, rich red you enjoy.