Stear clear, my veggie friends

January 11, 2010

Welcome to game meat week! If you eat meat, but tend to stick to chicken/beef/pork - this week is for you! I'm going to share some dee-licious recipes about all those fun, fabulous meats that are just a little different. If you are a vegetarian, well, I have a yummy tofu recipe coming up!

Once my husband and I went to a venison farm. The woman who ran it also had a flock of exotic chickens - including one that had feathers on its legs that reminded me of my beloved cocker spaniel, Buffy. (Moment of silence to remember Buffy. Sigh. I miss her.) We talked with her for over an hour about how she runs her farm and manages her flock of fallow deer. (Are deer a flock? A tribe? A murder?) Before she would sell us any meat, she insisted that we peek through the fence to "meet" the deer. (Pun intended.) And no, this wasn't disturbing. I was buying animal meat. It used to be alive. The other members of the flock seemed to be have a good life. But it was also there because it was intended to end up in my belly.

So if you live near a venison farm, or you're lucky enough to know (or be) a hunter with extra bounty, or your local market sells it - give this a whirl.

Juniper venison medallions, from the Shelburne Farms cookbook
Serves 2

6 juniper berries, crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
3/4 tablespoon gin
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
small fresh rosemary sprig
2 venison medallions, 3/4 inch thick (if yours are thinner, you won't need to cook them as long)

Whisk the crushed berries, gin, syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a shallow dish. Add the venison, turning the meat so it has a little of the marinade on the top side. Crush the rosemary in your hand to release the oils, then lay it on the meat. Pop the dish in the fridge for an hour, flipping the meat over halfway through. Don't marinate it longer than an hour or the texture of the meat will get a little weird.

Put a cast iron skillet (or other heavy, ovenproof skillet) in the oven, and preheat your broiler for 15 minutes. (Yes, the skillet preheats too.) Pat the venison dry and reserve the marinade. Sprinkle the steaks with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and place in the superhot skillet. Broil 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare meat. (I think venison is best medium rare, and don't recommend you cook it any longer.) Remove the steaks from the pan and pour the reserved marinade into the hot pan and let it sizzle for about a minute. Drizzle this over the venison.


Benjamin said...

RIP Buffy.

Benjamin said...

Oh, and I really like the game meats week! Any good wild boar recipes?