Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Trying to use all the deer...and get in the Christmas spirit
Well, neither do I.
There has been a LOT of life going on around here for the last few months, and it's been hard to try and mentally put these things on hold and focus on the holidays...but it is deer season too, lol. And the Lord blessed us with some deer meat. So I figured I would share a little slice of reality from around here. Prompted by Darian Allen's lovely cook book "The Forgotten Skills of Cooking", which is a perfect cookbook for any homestead cook who wants to learn how to use everything, and do everything (not to mention the fact that it is loaded with the most lovely photographs), we decided to try deer liver.
"For a big treat that evening [that the deer is killed] have the venison liver for supper. Really fresh, just fried simply in a little butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, it's one of the best things you can eat"
I don't like liver. Years ago when someone would ask me what foods I didn't like I would quickly respond, "Oh, I like everything but, runny eggs, creamed corn, liver, and octopus." First I learned that it was canned cream corn that I thought was so disgusting (I used to call it snot and boogers, shhh, don't tell my kids), and the fresh homemade stuff is just lovely. Then I learned to LOVE a poached egg on buttered homemade whole wheat bread...with fresh cracked pepper...umm makes me hungry just thinking about it. So I was determined to give it a try, since we had it and it was free or would be wasted. I must say it was hard not to think "Liver!? Gag!" while I was eating, but the pieces that were cooked to a pink perfection (rabbit trail: The directions said to have the pan on very high heat, and I left my iron skilled on Very High Heat for a little too long, and when I put the clarified butter in to cook, it smoked so thick I couldn't see the bottom of the pan, and while I was looking at it trying to decided if I should try and cook anyway the butter burst into flames and burned for a good three minutes, just like crepe Suzettes do in the movies. So. I decided the pan was just a little too hot) it had a lovely creamy almost mushroomy sort of taste. We all loved it, but the real surprise was just how much my toddlers loved it. One of the girls ate SEVEN servings! Seven. And she almost burst into tears when she thought the sixth helping wasn't coming fast enough. The funniest part was she completely refused to touch her mashed potatoes. So if you know someone who hunts deer, or if you do, you might want to give it a try. It certainly went over well at our house.
I like to try and be a good steward and use as much of the animal as possible. I have the heart in my fridge and I'm to try and do something with it next. My mom says she always enjoyed it just in stew. I've really enjoyed looking through the blog "Hunter Angler Gardener Cook" for ideas on how to use everything. I like a lot of game, but I'm not crazy about deer, but since it's such inexpensive free range meat for us I'm determined to learn to cook it well.
I've always loved corned beef...good corned beef anyhow, so I think I'm going to have to try this one out.
And this sounded like a really delicious way to prepare the heart. Isn't that a crazy sentence for our modern day world?
I'm going to try my hand at the venison bone broth, though I am a little nervous about the flavor, but I figure I can use it in tomato based stews if nothing else.
And I hope to try my hand at my own deer sausage this year.
Edible Aria can make anything look at sound great. I'm going to have to try this soup.
And I thought Quinn's Venison Meatballs sounded really good too.
So, umm, yeah, Merry Christmas!
P.S. I made a tomato veggie stew with the deer heart, and it didn't have any "deer" taste to it, though it was a little chewy. If there is a next time I will try to pound it some before I cook it. I rinsed it and cut off any pieces that seemed tough and fed them to the dog (yep we have dog now). Then cut it into about half inch pieces and dried them well on a paper towel. Then I browned them in olive oil in small batches, de-galzed the pan with red wine and add tomato sauce, spices, and veggies. We liked it well enough I would try it again.