North·The Arctic Kitchen

Wondering what to do with that moose nose? There's a recipe for that

Shawnalee Sears nearly threw in the towel when she boiled up a moose nose — the smell was so 'atrocious.' But she stuck it out and the end result was delicious.

Shawnalee Sears experimented with a moose nose, making a pâté-like jelly to serve on crackers

'Once I diced up the meat and I poured it into a container ... it actually gelled up kind of like a head cheese,' says Shawnaless Sears, who experimented with cooking a moose nose. (Shawnalee Sears/Facebook)

CBC North is telling the stories behind recipes posted on our Facebook group, The Arctic Kitchen: Recipes of the North. Join our group and follow along!

You could say that Shawnalee Sears has a real nose for recipes.

The Yukoner recently shared a recipe she used to make pickled moose nose on CBC's Arctic recipe Facebook group, and explained her process for cooking the oft-ignored organ on wild game.

Experimenting with wild game isn't new for Sears — she's also known for making what she calls RCMP pie — that's rabbit, chicken, moose and porcupine.

But back to that nose. Sears says she was gifted it by a friend last year.

Shawnalee Sears is no stranger to experimenting with wild game. The Yukoner has also made RCMP pie (rabbit, chicken, moose and porcupine). (Submitted by Shawnalee Sears)

"She brought it to me in a bag with a big grin on her face, probably expecting something cool for me to make, cause she loves when I feed her."

With nose in hand, Sears starting Googling recipes and found one for a jellied moose nose. Thus began the arduous, and stinky, process.

The moose nose in a pot. Sears says it took a couple hours to get the hair and skin off. (Shawnalee Sears/Facebook)

"I boiled it up and the smell was atrocious in the house," she said, laughing. "I almost threw in the towel thinking there's no way this is going to taste good from the smell going on in my house right now."

But she says she persevered, boiling and draining the water, then taking hours to remove the hair and skin, adding spices and simmering it down.

"I was impressed when, once I diced up the meat and I poured it into a container, that it actually gelled up kind of like a head cheese."

She compares it to a treat she remembers as a child growing up in Beaver Creek, Yukon, when a family friend gave her pickled pork hocks, or pigs' feet.

"It really does kind of have texture and the jelly like of pickled pork hocks."

Sears says it's not gamey at all, and hardly even tastes like moose, "which is kind of disappointing because we all love the flavour of moose."

Colleagues leery, then impressed

Sears brought her pâté-like creation into work in Whitehorse, to serve with crackers. She says, at first, her colleagues crinkled their own noses at the sight of it. But she says all that changed when they tasted it.

"Oh they were impressed. A lot of people that kind of were leery about trying it were quite impressed with the flavour and the texture of it," she said. 

"I was so happy with it."

Sears hopes to make pickled moose nose again this year — her partner is on the hunt for a moose this fall.

Sears served the dish to her co-workers on crackers, and says they were 'impressed.' (Shawnalee Sears/Facebook)

Written by Katherine Barton, based on interview by Wanda McLeod