Updated: Feb 1
A trio of venison recipes
I am not a hunter, but if I were, I think I might spend a lot of time deer hunting just to have a freezer full of venison. As I spend so much of my free time (willingly) fishing, switching to the pursuit of four legged creatures is probably unlikely. So I have to turn to friends for the occasional gift of venison meat and I recently scored big time with gifts from a former colleague that helped make this blog post happen.
Historically my repertoire of venison dishes has been limited to preparing a tenderloin (usually bought from my local butcher), which I featured in a recent blog post offering up options for Christmas dinner.
But thanks to the aforementioned gift of several pounds of varied cuts, I was lured into expanding my range of venison dishes. The bounty included a few pounds of ground venison, so it should be no surprise that I started with pasta. Readers of my blog will know of my love for all things pasta, especially as I tend to make my own at home. So identifying a hearty Bolognese sauce using the venison was a natural start to my experiment.
This recipe is super simple and begins with browning the venison for a short period, then transferring the meat to a colander to drain water from the meat. A robust mix of veggies, herbs and red wine are simmered gently before reintroducing the venison and cooking for about an hour and a half. A pappardelle paste complemented the venison Bolognese perfectly.
Another option for the ground venison is chili. When cooking winter comfort foods, I tend to favor Beef Bourguignon – but when you have ground meat and have already done Bolognese, well chili is a natural follow up. I am not a fan of straight up meat chili – beans have to be part of the equation. So I embarked on a very beany and spicy dish, complete with dark beer, jalapeño peppers, piquant spices (chili powder, Spanish paprika and cumin) and liquid smoke, among other ingredients.
To serve, I finished the chili off with sprinkles of habanero salt, cilantro, Mexican cotija cheese and a dollop of either sour cream or Greek yogurt, as well as an optional splash of some more liquid smoke.
‘Rounding’ out the venison bounty was a couple of round steaks, which I have never cooked before. The steaks were about ¾” thick, so I opted to cook them short and quick on the stovetop. I began by gently simmering on low heat a large dollop of bone marrow until completely rendered and then grilled the steaks in the marrow oil on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes a side. While the steaks rested under a foil tent (so that they stayed warm), I prepared an anchovy garlic butter to melt on the top of the steak – Yummo!