Thursday, March 25, 2010

Venison Stew

Venison is nearly the perfect meat. Its low in fat, high in protein, contains very little cholesterol, is organic and all natural, and it tastes delicious. Here’s my recipe for Venison Stew from scratch. I use any Venison meat from the tougher cuts; leg, neck, or shoulder. Any of these cuts will make a great stew. The best way to start is to cut it into cubes and brown the meat nicely on all sides. Be sure to brown the meat in the pan you are going to cook the stew in.

Ingredients
2 lbs. of Venison cut into 1” cubes.
2 quarts of beef stock (homemade or canned)
2 cups good red wine
2 TBS. olive oil
Carrots – cut into 1 and ½ inch by ½ inch pieces
Celery – 1 and ½ inch by 2 inch pieces
Whole boiling onions
1 lb. whole button mushrooms
Green beans – whole or cut in half
Turnip – cut into 1 and ½ inch by ½ inch pieces
Potatoes – use small red or yellow boiling potatoes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine
1 TBS. smoked paprika
1 TBS. tomato paste
Salt to taste

Procedure

Brown the Venison. Don’t try to brown it all in the same pan or it will just steam and not brown. Brown a little in hot oil, remove it from the pan and brown some more making sure to thoroughly brown each piece on all sides. Once browned add the beef stock, wine, and a roughly chopped onion, carrot, one stalk of celery, and the seasonings. Simmer the stew until the meat is almost tender. Add the remaining vegetables, including the potatoes and cook until they are just tender. Adjust the seasonings. Thicken the stock with a cornstarch-water mixture to the desired thickness. You may also want to remove the potatoes and mash them. You may want to darken the gravy with a little caramel color (Kitchen Bouquet). Serve with a crusty French bread and a sturdy red wine.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wild Grouse with Wild Mushrooms

Wild Grouse with Wild Mushrooms

Grouse is one of the most popular game birds in America. It can be found almost everywhere. Its habitat is usually in heavily wooded areas. Grouse nest on the ground and their camouflage is extremely effective – they are nearly impossible to see when sitting on their nest. Grouse live on seeds and small insects. Grouse tastes very similar to chicken and its size is similar to a small frying chicken. The only difference is that Grouse is a bit tougher. It is best to use a two step cooking process, called braising. This will insure a tender and delicious bird. I also recommend soaking the Grouse breasts in brine for about three hours prior to cooking (see procedure for brining meats). This recipe and process works well for pheasant and partridge (chucker) as well. Happy hunting.

Ingredients
4 whole Grouse breasts, split into two and deboned
1 cup flour
1 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ ounce of brandy
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 small carrot chopped fine
1 lb. wild mushrooms, shitake will work fine.
2 tsp. chopped garlic
3 TBS butter
3 TBS olive oil

Dave’s Seasoning Mix

Directions:

Remove the Grouse breasts from the brine and pat dry. Split the Grouse breasts and remove the bones and rib cage. Season the breasts with the seasoning mixture. Lightly flour the breasts and sauté in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Reserve 2 TBS. of the butter. When the breasts are lightly browned, remove from the pan and reserve on a warm plate. Add the vegetables and sauté until the onions are clear. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Return the Grouse to the pan and, over high heat, add the brandy and flame. Add the white wine and the chicken stock. Cook, covered in a 375 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Add the garlic

Remove the pan from the oven and remove the breasts. Reduce the sauce over high heat. Adjust the seasoning. You may thicken the sauce slightly with corn starch-water slurry.

Serve the breasts with the sauce covering. I recommend accompanying the Grouse with garlic mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or wild rice. Serve with a sturdy white wine and crusty French bread.

Dave’s Poultry Seasoning Mixture
5 parts coarse salt
1 part coarse ground black pepper
1 part granulated garlic
1 part granulated onion
1 part ground paprika
¼ part ground thyme

Roast Wild Turkey

Recently I hunted wild Turkey in Eastern Washington. It was great fun; the hunt took almost 3 hours before I finally had a decent shot at a young Tom. Wild turkeys have incredible eyesight and are much smarter than given credit for.


As soon as the turkey was cleaned I popped it in the freezer for cooking the next week. Wild turkey is extremely lean meat, as are most game birds. Try to find any lead shot and remove it using tweezers.

They are flavorful but can be a bit dry if not prepared correctly. The most important step is brining the turkey. Refer to my recipe for brining chickens. A large wild turkey should sit in the brine overnight.

Ingredients

Wild turkey, skin on or skinned
1 stick of butter
½ lb salt pork
Meat injector
2 cups chicken stock
½ onion, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped
1 stalk celery, rough chopped
Large roasting pan
Heavy duty aluminum foil
¼ cup Seasoning mix

Preparation

After thawing the bird slowly in the refrigerator wash it off in cold water and plunge it into a brine solution of salt, vinegar, sugar, and water to completely cover the bird. Brine overnight. Remove the bird from the brine and wash in cold water again. Check carefully for any shot entry spots and feel around for shot. Carefully pry out any shot if you find it.

Place the bird in a roasting pan, directly on the pan, not in a rack. Add the cut vegetables. Melt the butter. Begin injecting the bird in various locations using up all the butter. Pour any remaining butter all over the cold bird. The butter should solidify almost immediately. Season the bird with the seasoning mix inside and out, especially on the bottom of the bird. Slice the salt pork into very thin slices and drape them over the bird, including over the legs. You can substitute bacon for the salt pork but blanch the bacon first to remove some of the smoke flavor.

Tightly cover the bird and roasting pan with aluminum foil. Roast in a 335 degree F oven. Roast for about 4 hours. Check occasionally and add some chicken stock about ½ way through the cooking process. Remove the foil for the last few minutes.

Turkey gravy

Make a blond roux (equal parts of flour and fat by weight, cooked over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Do not burn)

Add the strained stock form the roasting pan whisking continuously. Remember the rule for no lumps, cold stock to hot roux – hot stock to cold roux. Thicken the gravy. Add 1 TBS sherry. Season to taste. Darken with a little kitchen bouquet if you like.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The delicious Anelope

For the less tender cuts, leg and shoulder meat for instance, braising is the only way to go. Trying to roast it, given the fact that they are essentially fat-free would result in a pretty dry roast, unless you larded the meat; a time consuming process.



For a large leg cut, such as top round, bottom round, or eye of round I would brine the meat for several hours, rinse, pat dry, and prepare a couple of different ways. You can’t go wrong with either of these methods.


1. Antelope Scaloppini: You can slice the roast, across the grain into thin, 1/2 inch pieces or steaks. The French call these thin slices Escallops. Place the slices, one by one, between layers of a zip lock plastic bag and pound thin with a meat pounder. When the slices are suitably thin it is easy to lightly flour the pieces, season, and sauté in oil or a combination of oil and butter.


a. Serve with a sauce. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine, add a little Campbell's beef Consommé, and thicken slightly with a slurry of cornstarch and water. Finish the sauce by whisking in a couple tablespoons of butter off the heat.


b. Antelope Stroganoff: A variation is to cut the pounded steaks into thin strips, about 1” wide. Flour the meat and sauté in a little oil in a large skillet. When the meat is slightly browned add one onion sliced into thin slices and one Lb. of mushrooms, quartered. Sauté the vegetables until barely tender. Add 2 cups of white wine and 1 can of Campbell’s beef Consommé. Season with salt, pepper, and a sprig of fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes, covered, until the meat is tender. Add three TBS. of sour cream and blend into the sauce. Server the dish with steamed egg noodles.


2. Braised Antelope: The other way, and probably more flavorful is to braise the roast. Liberally season with salt, pepper, and garlic the whole roast and brown in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Brown the meat on all sides. Add aromatic vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and onions cut in thick pieces. Add about 2 cups of red wine, a couple of bay leaves, a sprig or two of fresh thyme, two cups water, two cans of Campbell’s beef Consommé, and cover the pot. Simmer for two hours or until the roast is tender. Depending on the size of the roast it could take as long as 3 hours. Remove the roast from the pot and thicken the sauce with a roux.


a. A roux is a mixture of oil and flour in equal amounts by weight (4 oz of oil and 4 oz of flour). Cook the roux in a small saucepan for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat being careful not to burn the flour. Allow the roux to cool.


b. Begin whisking the roux into the hot boiling stock used to cook the roast. When the sauce is the desired thickness adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and finish with a couple TBS. of butter, whisking it in off the heat. You can darken the sauce with a little Kitchen Bouquet. Slice the roast, place the slices on a large platter, cover with the sauce, and serve with roasted vegetables and plenty of crusty French bread.