Monday, March 1, 2010

Venison, Lovely Venison

I adore venison. I grew up in a hunting family; between my parents and my siblings, we would get 3-4 deer a year (yes, I've hunted for my own dinner - and brought it home).

Most people who don't like venison think it tastes too gamey. This is usually a result of an improperly field-cleaned deer. The trick to field-cleaning to take your time removing the offal, being very careful not to puncture any internal organs, as this will taint the flavor of the meat.

The second-most cause of gamey meat is improper cooking. Venison is a very lean meat and as such should be cooked in a relatively moist environment over medium heat. If you try to grill or broil it like beef, you will end up with tough, dry, gamey meat.

I prefer stews, braises, and stovetop sauces, like stroganoff, for my venison. Crockpot cooking is another wonderful way to get tender, delicious venison.

Venison in Onion Mushroom Sauce
1 to 1 1/2 pounds venison, tenderloins or steaks are best
1 large onion, sliced thinly
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 tablespoons canola oil
7 or 8 cloves garlic
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in skillet. Carmelize the onion and mushrooms in skillet and remove. Briefly sauté garlic in skillet and remove. Mix flour, salt, and pepper and dredge meat in it. Dredge meat in flour mixture and brown in skillet, removing pieces as they are done.

Deglaze pan with water. Return meat, onions, garlic, and mushrooms to pan and simmer at a medium low heat until gravy is thick and meat is done.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, noodles or even fried potatoes.

The gravy provides nice moist environment to cook the venison in. The longer the venison simmers, the more tender it will be. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare venison as the meat will be melt in your mouth tender in a relatively short time.

And when there are only two of us, we get to have leftovers!!!!!!

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