Friday, January 22, 2010


Growing up in the city of Philadelphia and the suburb of Levittown, PA, my experience with bears was limited to a few zoos, where I was safely out of their reach.  Even my years in rural Long Valley, New Jersey didn't bring me into contact with bears.  Suddenly, bears are everywhere in New Bern.  No matter where I go, I see bears -- so many that I've lost count.

"Barrister Bear" looks pretty tame.  He's even dressed in a suit.

 "Tabearna" actually looks like a stuffed shirt, no worries there.

I think "Neuseopoly" is just out for a good time, so I'm not expecting trouble from this guy.

"Bearer of Rights" seems kind of serious.  I don't think I'll mess with him.

"Freedom Bearer" might get aggressive.  I'm definitely not getting near him.

There are tons more bears all around New Bern.  This is getting a bit worrisome.  What if they get hungry and decide to go on the prowl for food?  They're omnivores, like we humans, so they eat pretty much what we eat.  Maybe I should set out some of the Irish lamb stew I made for dinner tonight.  After all, it is Southern, and these must be Southern bears if they live in New Bern. 

Would you like to put out some stew for the bears?   I think they'll like it, because we certainly did.  The meat is fall-apart tender with the most amazing flavor.  And don't worry about the bacon.  If you don't tell anyone, they won't even know it's there.  It just makes the stew taste better. I know you're worried about the cost, but don't be.  Lamb shoulder is an economical cut.  Long, slow cooking makes it tender, delicious and  fit for a king -- or a bear.

Irish Lamb Stew
Adapted from
Bear Rating:  10 out of 10

1/2 pound bacon, diced
2-1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, if preferred)
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup drinking-quality dry white wine
1-1/2 cups beef stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 Yukon Gold potatoes,scrubbed, quartered

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.  Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in resealable gallon-size storage bag. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat. (Do this in two batches to ensure the meat browns well.)

Place meat into slow cooker.  Saute onion over medium heat in any remaining bacon fat till onion is golden. Add garlic and cook another minute. Raise heat to high; stir in wine and let boil for a few minutes; add beef broth and let it boil briefly.  Transfer garlic-onion mixture with broth to the crock pot with bacon pieces, thyme, bay leaf, and potatoes. Cover and cook on high for about 4-1/2 hours, or low for about 8 hours, or till meat is very tender. Add frozen peas about 1/2  hour before serving and cook on high.  Yield:  4 - 5 servings.

P. S.  If you want to know more about the many bears that are proliferating in New Bern, check out the Bear Town Bears website


  1. Hello, Judy,

    The bear photos are very professional and wonderful! So does the delicious looking meal! Great post!

    Take care,

  2. LOVE the bears!

    And that stew looks hearty and warming and totally comforting. Big YUMS up.


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