Sunday, January 10, 2010

What we had for dinner

Remember my Facebook status the other day? Well. This is what we had :) Although, to be fair, I'd made it the day before and we were just eating the leftovers...

This is an amazing way to cook venison! My parents have been supplying us with generous amounts of venison this year, so I've been searching out new ways to cook it that can help mute the gamey taste that so many non-eaters-of-venison complain of. This recipe takes the crown, so far.

Here's the recipe with my alterations written in, because I never have everything I need for any recipe I try-- even if I did just go shopping for all the ingredients. Also, I did the metric conversions for you.

Olive oil, for cooking (I used plain cooking oil, but I would normally have olive oil on hand)

150g (I used about six slices) smoked bacon, chopped

1kg (2lbs) boned leg or shoulder of venison, cut into large chunks

3-4 tbsp plain flour, seasoned

250g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped (I used about six green onions)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I totally know how to crush a garlic clove now! I rock!)

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped

1 medium swede, peeled and roughly chopped (a swede is the English name for a rutabega. ESSENTIAL to this dish. DO NOT substitute. It has a really unique, smoky/earthy flavor that you will definitely miss)

Few thyme sprigs (I used dried sage. Only thing even remotely similar that I had)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp mixed peppercorns, crushed

500ml (2 cups, I used a Cab Sav) red wine

500ml (2 cups, I used chicken bouillon) brown chicken or beef stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-2 tsp raspberry vinegar, to taste (couldn't find raspberry vinegar in the grocery, so used basalmic-- and about 2 tblsp-- but taste carefully and add slowly!)

20-30g (2 oz) dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), grated, to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 (350 degrees F). Drizzle a little oil into a large ovenproof casserole dish and sauté the bacon for 4-5 minutes over a moderate heat until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2 Put the chunks of venison in a large bowl or plastic bag with the seasoned flour and toss well to coat. Shake off the excess flour. Add a little more oil to the casserole and fry the venison in batches over a moderate to high heat, until browned on all sides. Remove from the casserole and set aside with the bacon.

3 Add a final drizzle of oil to the casserole dish and tip in the shallots, garlic, carrots, celery and swede. Sauté the vegetables with the herbs and crushed peppercorns for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and golden.

4 Return the bacon and venison to the casserole and pour in the red wine. Give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the dish to loosen any sediment. Bring the wine to the boil, then pour in the stock and add some salt and pepper. Return to the boil, then cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until tender. (I simmered mine on the stovetop, because I had sourdough bread in the oven)

5 Remove the casserole from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables through a large sieve or colander, set over a saucepan to catch the sauce. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Tip the meat and vegetables back into the dish and cover to keep warm. (I just spooned the veggies and meat out into a bowl and called it a day)

6 Add the raspberry vinegar to the sauce and reheat gently. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the chocolate until it melts and the sauce is smooth. (If it turns grainy, pass it through a fine sieve.) (I just turned the burner low and carefully stirred the chocolate in. It didn't get grainy.)

7 Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour the sauce over the venison and vegetables and stir well to coat. Serve immediately with creamed cabbage and mashed potato. (We skipped the cream cabbage)

Try it out and let me know what you think!


Hosanna said...

Now, wouldn't grilled cheese, etc. have been easier? :)

I have been looking for new ways to cook venison also; as Kevin has harvested so many this year! We have one aging in the barn at the moment. We also have a grass-fed beef, and do you know I prefer the venison over the grass fed organic beef? The only way to cook that tough thing is in the crock pot, for hours and hours. Bleh.
We also grind our venison into burger, which is quite tasty when done with beef fat.
I remember Su making a Mexican beef dish many years ago that had chocolate in it. I might try this for funs.

Herb of Grace said...

WE have been using ground venison, too :) I was mixing it a little with grocery store beef, but after reading about the ammonia soaked fillers in that beef...I think we'll stick to plain venison from now on. Lucky you guys to have grass-fed beef! I didn't know it was tough. Huh. Have you tried marinating it with various tenderizing herbs and such?

Hosanna said...

We traded for the beef - hay for a side of it. The sick thing is, the two steers are hay we made; and I remember them when they were still alive. I looked into their eyes - and now I eat them with green beans and mashed potatoes.
I have not tried marinading them. Just crockpot-ing it.
As for the ammonia fillers? It hasn't killed me yet, and if that doesn't, something else will. I avoid it as much as I can but I don't wig out about it.

Hosanna said...

I mean, the steers ATE the hay we made; not that they ARE the hay we made. Although, in a way, they are the hay, I guess..............

ESC said...

I never eat venison. But this recipe, I must tell you, this recipe is quite tempting. (And there's half a deer in my freezer...)

Herb of Grace said...

Elizabeth, I'm curious... Why do you never eat venison? Taste or scruples?

Gramoni said...

Wow! What a complex and delicious sounding recipe! Yes, time-consuming. One thing I've concluded in recent years about venison is that the key approach is "savory". The more taste--in herbs, condiments, etc--you add to it, the more the virtues of the wild taste are brought out. I love my stew now, but I have only really figured it out in the last two years. Very intense, with vinegar, Scarborough Fair herbs, a little tomato, a natural bouillon I have found, worcestershire sauce, sugar, etc., then thickened with milk and flour. The best tweak I have made recently, though, is boiling for fifteen minutes and throwing out the first water. Gets rid of blood which contributes to the initial gamey taste. (Suggestion courtesy of Mina who likes to cook Kosher. Great idea!) I've also found that the best broth comes from cooking down the less desireable parts and straining off blood till the water is golden and clear-looking. Add this to soup. Takes a long time to cook down, but it is totally worth it to have such tastey and nutritious broth. Our neighbor, Randy, taught us to use the WHOLE deer, so we've even shaved and used some of the hooves for the gelatin content. Ribs can be barbecued like any meat. Neck and tail are tender but best cooked down for broth, I think. Just musing on the gallant deer...Now I have to go cut one up!

ESC said...

Oh, it just tastes odd. I don't like the taste of "wild" meat. It's a shame because Scott hunts and we always have deer. It's healthy and lean as well, but I just cannot move past the taste. I will have to make this and see if it cures my deer meat woes.

Herb of Grace said...

Mom, that's so odd that you recommend the savory flavors for venison! That would have been my first instinct as well, but Susi disagreed and went for sweet when she did her first tenderloin from you. Then when i went around the internet, looking for recipes, I saw that the majority of professional chef recipes went with the sweets as well. I saw a lot of berry flavors, several chocolates (unusual, but tasty!) and very few truly savory recipes. I recommend that you give some of the sweeter flavors a try. Sue and I decided we're going to try dried cherries with our next tenderloin. I'll let you know how that goes.