Friday, March 25, 2011

The Other Red Meat: Venison

1. We live in the country
2. My husband likes to hunt

A lot of people in the South depend on the deer meat our hunters bring home to help keep grocery costs down throughout the year. Many folks think venison is too gamey tasting. I think this recipe/technique will change some minds...

I don't have a name for it. I'm so sorry - I really tried to think something up, but couldn't come up with anything other than "Venison Nuggets", or "Bambi Bites", or "Sauteed Venison Loin Cubes with Peppers and Onions". The first two are ridiculous, the third one is too long and snooty. Feel free to name this recipe for me in the comments section.

One of the best ways to help remove some of the gaminess of the meat is to soak it in watered down milk overnight, or at least a couple of hours. This helps draw out the blood and mellow the flavor. I used the backstrap for this recipe, which is kind of like a tenderloin cut. This was an improv recipe, so measurements aren't precise. You could use any meat for this. It's just a quick, non-Asian stir fry, really.

Remove any tendons and/or  silverskin from the backstrap/tenderloin (which has been soaked, if desired) and cut it into bite size cubes. Toss with a generous sprinkle of steak seasoning and lemon pepper. Let stand while you slice up the veggies

I had some button mushrooms, half of a Poblano pepper, and half of a white onion hanging out in the fridge, so that's what I used. (Poblanos have a little heat - sort of a happy medium between a bell pepper and a mild jalapeno. You can find them amongst the other peppers at any grocery store these days. We love them out here at Ogle Acres!)

Not as old as she looks...
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. lightly film the bottom with oil. When it's near the smoking point, toss in the meat and cook to medium  rare. Keep it moving around so it doesn't burn or overcook.You really want the pan screaming hot.

Remove the meat to a bowl and add the veggies, cook until tender and lightly charred.

they will pick up the crusty bits and flavor from the meat, so there's really no need to season them with anything more than a little salt.

Toss together the meat and veggies and serve with pretty much ANYTHING. Pile on top of mashed potatoes or rice, buttered egg noodles, or do what I did:

Make an epic salad with mixed greens, scallions, cucumber, blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles. Blue cheese is really fantastic with red meat. That flavor combo just really brings me joy...

If you don't have venison in your freezer, feel free to use beef in this dish. Since it's cooked to medium rare you can use a cheaper cut. The flavors would also work with chicken. It's a tasty, fast, weeknight treat. 

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