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If there's a successful hunter around your house; here are four ways to put wild venison to good use.

If there's a successful hunter around your house

The hunter was successful. The freezer holds another season's worth of venison, and it's time to consider ways to use this special treat.

However, venison from the wild throws the cook a few challenges, because its quality is unpredictable. The diet of these free-roaming creatures varies, size differs considerably, age can only be estimated, and the amount of exercise each animal gets is anybody's guess. Dressing and handling of the venison can also affect its taste and texture.

So each season, and with each deer, you may find yourself dealing with a seemingly different animal. These recipes are designed to get the best from any situation you encounter.

For scrappy of tough pieces, grind them to make the base of a flavorful meat loaf, which can also be served cold and be more elegantly called a terrine or pate. You can also thinly slice any part of the venison and quickly stir-fry it for tender results.

Very lean, less tender cuts from the shoulder and leg make a fine stew. Tender cuts from the loin grill well. Chop sizes from one deer vary, but if cut the same thickness, they cook at about the same rate.

For best-quality meat with little loss of juices, thaw frozen venison in a microwave oven according to the manufacturer's directions. This takes only a few minutes. We also recommend that you rinse venison cuts and pat dry to remove any stale odors; scrape off any bone crumbs left from cutting up the carcass.

Venison Loaf

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon each fennel seed and dry marjoram leaves

1 large carrot, peeled


2 large eggs

1 1/2 pounds ground venison

1/2 pound ground lean pork

1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/3 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

8 to 10 slices bacon

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; stir often until golden, about 10 minutes. Add ginger, fennel, and marjoram. Scrape mixture into a large bowl; set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cut carrot into 3-inch lengths; then cut each section lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Rinse frying pan; and 1/2 inch water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add carrots and cook, covered, until tender when pierced, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To cooled onion mixture, add eggs and beat to blend. Add venison, pork, crumbs, milk, salt, and papper; mix well with your hands or a fork. Set aside 2 slices bacon; arrange remaining slices side by side across the width of a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan, lining it. Cut 2 reserved slices in half crosswise and use to line ends of pan.

Smoothly spread half of the meat mixture in the pan. Lay carrot slices parallel to length of pan, covering meat layer. Spread remaining meat mixture evenly over carrots. Fold bacon ends over meat and pat level.

Place loaf pan in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Put both pans into a 350| oven. Pour boiling water into the larger pan to a depth of at least 1 inch. Bake loaf until meat feels firm in center when pressed and edges begin to pull from pan sides, about 1 hour. Remove loaf pan from water and let meat cool at least 20 minutes.

Tilt pan to drain off juices. Invert a platter over pan; hold together and flip over. Lift pan off loaf. Serve loaf warm or cold. To chill it, lightly cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. If made ahead, wrap airtight and chill up to 5 days. Cut into thick slices. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Barbecued Venison Rib Chops

8 venison rib chops, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick (2 to 2 1/2 lb. total)

1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Rinse venison and pat dry. Trim most of the rim fat from chops and discard. Sprinkle 1/2 the rosemary onto meat on 1 side of each chop. With a flat mallet, firmly pound meat to hold herb in place. Turn chops over and repeat. Lightly brush chops all over with oil.

Place chops on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals--you can hold your hand at grill level for only 2 to 3 seconds. Arrange smaller chops near outside edge of coals, larger ones in the center. Cook until browned and done as you like; turn as needed. Chops should be red (cut to test) for medium-rare, about 4 minutes total; pale red for medium, about 6 minutes total (well-done venison is dry and firm). Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6, depending on size of chops.

Venison Stir-fry

About 1/3 cup regular-strength beef or chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 pound boneless venison, fat trimmed

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

3 tablespoons salad oil

1 medium-size onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

About 3/4 pound edible-pod peas, ends and strings removed

Combine 1/4 cup broth, soy sauce, and marmalade. In another cup, mix remaining broth with cornstarch until blended.

Rinse venison and pat dry. Cut meat across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slanting slices, each about 2 inches long. Mix pieces with ginger.

Place wok or 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat. When wok is hot, and 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Stir-fry until onion is just lightly tinged with brown but still crisp, about 2 minutes; pour onion from pan and set aside. Add another 1 tablespoon oil to pan; when hot, add half the venison mixture and stirfry until meat is lightly browned, about 2 minutes; add to onions. Repeat, using remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and venison mixture; add to meat and onions.

Pour marmalade mixture into wok, add peas, and stir until they turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Add meat, onions, and cornstarch mixture to pan; stir until boiling. Pour onto a platter. Makes 4 servings.

Braised Venison with Vegetables

2 1/2 pounds fat-trimmed and boned venison round steak (or other leg or shoulder cut)

About 3 1/2 cups regular-strength beef or chicken broth

2 tablespoons olive or salad oil

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 large can (7 oz.) diced green chilies

1 tablespoon mustard seed

4 small (about 2-in. diameter) thinskinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half

4 small (about 3-in.-wide) turnips, peeled and cut in half

4 medium-size (about 3/4 lb. total) carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water

Mustard greens (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper

Rinse venison, pat dry, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine venison, 1/2 cup broth, and oil. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lid and boil over high heat until meat starts to sizzle and brown, about 7 minutes; turn heat down to medium and stir frequently until drippings are dark brown and meat is glazed with brown.

Add 3 cups broth, vinegar, chilies, and mustard seed; stir to release browned bits in pan. Lay potatoes and turnips on top of meat, and then lay carrots on vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until meat and vegetables are tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables and meat from pan and arrange on a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard fat from pan juices. On high heat, boil the juices until reduced to about 2 cups. Stirring, add cornstarch mixture to juices. When boiling resumes, pour into a small bowl; keep warm. Cook mustard greens as directed below; add to platter. Serve stew with sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Mustard greens. Wash 1 pound mustard greens; drain well. Break or cut off coarse stems and discard. Stack greens and cut into wide strips. If made ahead, enclose in a plastic bag and chill up to 6 hours.

After venison and vegetables (preceding) are cooked, bring 1/4 cup water to boiling in a 4- to 5-quart pan over high heat. Add greens and stir until limp and wilted, about 3 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and add to meat platter.

Photo: Draped with bacon, venison loaf sports a layer of sliced carrots through its middle. Serve cold with pickles, bread, and butter

Photo: Chinese pea pods simmer in sauce until tender-crisp; add cooked, sliced venison and stir-fried onions

Photo: Gently pound rosemary leaves into each chop, then brush lightly with oil. From one deer, chop sizes vary
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1987
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