Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

Fishing and Outdoors

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Triple treat: organic venison recipes

3 min read

Venison can be adapted to a wide variety of cooking styles. Photo: Meeressterne from Pixabay

Wild venison is organic – no chemicals in farm stock drenches or anti-biotics; it is completely free-range. In her book Wild and Wonderful Everyday Venison Recipes for All Seasons, Andy Lyver says venison is “high in iron and low in cholesterol, making it one of the healthiest meats available.”

Right from the start with the hunt, you can make sure your venison is at its best. Preferably select a deer such as a young yearling, a young spiker stag, or a hind. With the latter, no sensitive humane hunter would take a hind when it has a fawn at foot. Around September to October is the only time – to my mind – to shoot a hind. Its youngster has been nurtured through the winter and will be fine from then on.

Don’t neglect stags for meat. Some say stag meat in the roar is inedible, but I have never found so. Stag meat is ideal for sausages, mince, corned venison, or slow casserole cooking. As you cut off venison, hang it over or from a branch or hang a quarter from a branch to cool it. Or if you retrieve the whole animal, hang it in a chiller or the coolest place in your house, such as the garage.

Then age the meat by hanging it for two to three or chill it in the garage fridge. Alex Gale recommends “several days or even a week or more” in his book The New Zealand Deer Hunter’s Hand. The next step is to vacuum pack it into the deep freeze in various cuts of rump, casserole, back-steak, mince, etc.         

Golden rules

There are some basic rules for cooking venison: do not overcook and cook slowly with casseroles (e.g.150 degrees Celsius). Andy details steaks, stir-fries, burgers, soups, casseroles, roasts, and others in her book. Here are three recipes that I have found to be good.

Recipes

Boozy venison

In one of her recipes, Andy uses dark beer and cooks the meat in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg venison (any reasonable cut)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 600ml any good dark beer
  • 1 cup runny honey
  • I add onions, garlic, and mixed herbs and restrict the honey to one or two tablespoons.

Sherry and prunes

Another great recipe from Andy is slow-cooked venison with sherried prunes.

Ingredients:

  • 750 grams venison, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • Half a cup flour
  • Dozen prunes soaked in sherry for a few hours
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Salt and pepper

Put the venison and flour in a plastic bag and shake well. Then brown the meat, (not too much) in butter or oil. Lightly fry a sliced onion. Add the beef stock and then prunes. Cook for up to two hours at 150 degrees. You can add your own touches such as crushed juniper berries or half-a-teaspoon dried rosemary.

Hamburgers

Then, of course, there are the classic burgers. Get your venison minced at a butcher.

Ingredients:

  • ½kg minced venison
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 dessert spoon cornflour
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 grated medium-sized carrot
  • 1 grated zucchini (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • A good slosh of tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients and pulse in a food blender. Make small patties or meatballs and fry in pan or on barbecue.

Words: Ben Hope

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