Monday, January 5, 2009

Empty Pantry

Deciding what to make after a four-and-half day cross-country drive after the holiday was a real challenge. I'd eaten all the fresh food in the refrigerator and in the panty, so I didn't have any onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, etc. But we needed to eat last night. What to do?

Fortunately, my parents had some venison they wanted out of their freezer. And I had canned black beans and red wine. Hmmm, I feel an idea brewing.

A lot of people claim they don't like venison; they don't like the "gamey" taste. If the venison properly field-dressed (don't puncture the intestines or the bladder), the meat won't taste gamey. While venison may seem tough, that is because it doesn't have much fat on it. Long, slow, moist cooking will tenderize roasts and steaks; adding beef fat to ground meat will make it more tender.

Venison and Black Beans in Wine Sauce
1 pound of venison cut into bite-size pieces
3 cans of black beans (red beans would work, but not kidney beans)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
Pinch of kosher salt
approximately 2 cups of full-bodied red wine (I used syrah, but I suspect any full-bodied red like zinfandel or merlot would work as well)
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil (I like canola; olive oil has too low a smoke point)

Sprinkle salt over venison. Brown the venison in a large skillet over med-high heat. Once the venison is seared, add remaining ingredients and simmer over LOW heat for at least a half an hour. Serve over rice.

I wish I had let the dish simmer longer than 45 minutes - an hour and a half would have been great (but the bread wouldn't wait). The venison could have used a longer cook time to make it more tender. In fact, I wish I had braised it in the oven, but the oven was occupied by bread. It was quite yummy nonetheless.

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