Venison Pasteles Stew

Being a hunter for more than 30 years, I have a strong connection to Axis deer.

Axis Deer was introduced to Hawai`i in the mid 1800s, when Hong Kong gifted them to King Kamehameha V.  Wild populations have since exploded on Maui, Lana`i, and Molokai, while Hawai`i Island and O`ahu have successfully removed them.

Although an invasive species in Hawai`i, Axis deer is also considered by many to be one of the best-tasting game meats in the world. 

This weekend we will be featuring venison integrated into a version of a popular Puerto Rican dish common in Hawai‘i - Pasteles Stew.

The Puerto Ricans arrived in Hawai‘i in 1900, and one of the many Puerto Rican dishes that became popular in Hawai‘i was pasteles.  Although traditionally made with pork and eaten primarily on special occasions, the locals adapted it, making it in ti leaves (vs banana leaves), and it became a part of our food culture. 

Pasteles Stew is a simplified iteration created in the islands that has since become even more popular in the islands than the pasteles themselves.