Monday, January 30, 2012

Venison Pasties

Ahhh... the famous British pasty. By definition, a "pasty" is dish-less pie filled with venison or other meats. This hand-held treat has been enjoyed for centuries by kings, queens and common peasants a-like, with some references pointing to its beginnings as far back as the 13th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the pastry reached its height in popularity. It is said that the tin miners of Cornwall took these pasties with them to the mines. The pasty's densely folded crust would keep its contents warm for hours or could be easily reheated on a shovel positioned over a candle.

Textually, the County of Cornwall, a peninsula located in the southern part of England,  takes claim to the origin of the original pasty. However, in 2006, a researcher in the neighboring county of Devon found a pasty recipe in an audit book dated 1510, beating out Cornwall's previous record of 1746. The Devon recipe called for venison from the Mount Edgecumbe Estate and was considered a dish fit for the wealthy.

There are many "right" ways of making a pasty, and in all honesty, it doesn't really matter. It's a dish that's supposed to be made with whatever you have on hand. Our crust is not so dense. We have opted out from making the iconic "side-crimp." (It is rumored that miners ate their pasties by holding this discard-able thick edge, so their dirty fingers would not touch their mouths or food.) Another funny theory suggests that pasties were initialed or marked at one end and eaten from the other. This way, if the owner does not finish his pasty in one go, he can easily reclaim it later on. Anyway, all rumors and theories aside, we chose to simply fill our pasties with shredded venison cooked in beef broth and red wine, allspice, goat cheese and raisins. The crust is good, so no need to discard it.  It was really a fun dish to make because it's so different from what we've done before. 

The pasty is the "Hot Pocket" for the noble knight on-the-go.

Servings: 6-7 pasties
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
- 1 1/2 lbs. of venison roast
- 2 tbs. oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 4 egg yokes, saving whites
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 tsp. allspice 
- 1/8 cup cooking liquid
- your favorite pie crust, or what we used: Classic Crisco Pie Crust (measurements for double crust, top and bottom)

1. Please, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, REMOVE all silver skin and fat from your venison! :-)

Cut venison roast into 1 inch cubes. Dab with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbs. of oil and brown venison on all sides. Brown in batches, one layer at a time.

Return venison cubes to the pot. Add beef broth and wine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until venison is tender. Reserve cooking liquid.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove venison from cooking liquid. With a fork, shred the cubes. Put shredded venison in a large bowl.
4. Add raisins and allspice. Combine well with hands.
Add egg yokes, goat cheese and about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid (from simmering the meat) until moist but not runny. Add 1/8 tsp. of salt and ground black pepper to taste. Combine well.
5. Roll out dough. Cut into circles, about 7-8 inches across. We used a bowl to cut around. You don't have to be exact. You should get about 6-7 circles.

Make sure to keep your working space floured to keep dough from sticking.
6. Fill top half of pie crust with venison mixture.
7. Brush egg whites half way around the pie crust. Fold over and crimp with a fork. You will end up with a "D" shaped pastry, like a calzone. 

With a fork, poke holes at the top of pasties for venting.
Brush egg whites over the tops of the pasties. Bake on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes in a 350 degree F oven, or until crust is set and golden on top.
While you wait, drink from coconuts and dizzy yourself with wine... yes yes, we can be weird...

(My dad gave me the coconuts from out of the blue. That's why we had them. I didn't want them to go bad.)
Don't they look pretty? 

We hope you enjoy!

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Friday, January 27, 2012


Anybody going to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Camp and Exposition in Las Vegas (February 2-4)? We'll be there! We decided to make shirts for ourselves. You like?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Deer Stew with Herbes de Provence

Imagine large, tender chunks of venison slowly simmering away in a broth of hearty red wine, sweet brandy, ripe tomatoes and fragrant herbs like lavender and thyme. After a few hours, this stew will fill your home with the most inviting smells.  Following the French tradition, a lot of alcohol was used along with a small handful of herbes de Provence, a mixture of herbs indigenous to the Mediterranean, Southern part of France. Ladies, this is the perfect meal to welcome your beloved hunter home. After a cold day of being out in the field, he will surely appreciate this warm meal. (All political correctness aside-- I usually go with him, but when it's cold, I volunteer to stay inside. I'd rather stay home and cook than freeze my butt off. Let the man bring home the meat. You know what I'm sayin'?) And for all you gentlemen out there, she'll appreciate you helping with the dishes. Rick does and I love him for it. ;-)

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2.5 hours
- 3 lbs.venison roast
- 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup of shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs. brandy
- 2 tbs. tomato paste
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
- 2 cups of hearty red wine
- 1 14.5 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 4 strips of orange zest (2.5 inches long, removed with a peeler)
- 1 lb. (2 cups) of carrots, cut into 3/4 - 1 inch thick chunks 
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley for garnish, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Position rack to the lower third of oven.

Trim venison roast of all silver-skin and fat. Cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes. Lightly sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Over medium heat, heat oil and bacon in a 7-8 quart Dutch oven until bacon is browned but not crisp. Stir occasionally. About 5-6 minutes.

Remove bacon bits to a small plate.
3. In the same grease, brown venison cubes in batches, in a single layer, until cubes turn a rich brown on all sides. Do the same for remaining cubes. About 10 minutes. 

Set browned cubes aside in a plate. 
4. Turn the stove up to medium-high heat. Using the same grease, add shallots, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Saute until shallots begin to soften. 1 minute.
5. Add brandy and let it boil away.
6. Add tomato paste, garlic and herbes de Provence. Mix well and saute for another 1 minute.
7. Add the wine. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the yummy crusties at the bottom. Bring to a boil.
8. Pour in the juice from the can of whole tomatoes, holding the tomatoes back with your hand.
Then, one by one, crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pot and drop them in. 

Be careful though...
Because this is what happens when you get too excited ... Stand back, everyone!
9. Drop in orange zest. Bring to a simmer.
Return the browned venison along with the meat juices. Return the bacon bits.
Finally, add the carrots. 

10. Cover the pot. Slide into the oven and cook for about 2.5 hours, or until meat is fork tender. Stir every 45 minutes. 
When it comes out, it should look like this. Yours should look wetter. We went to San Diego and left the stew going for 3 hours. 2.5 hours would be perfect. 
Enjoy with the rest of your wine (and brandy). And homemade mashed potatoes.

This week's wine was Long Arm's Red Blend, one that we got from Trader Joe's for about 6 bucks. It's not what you call a "pedigreed" wine, but Rick still gives it two thumbs up.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Smoky Lettuce Wraps with Sage Corn Salsa

There are lettuce wraps for Beverly Hills housewives and there are lettuce wraps for meat-eating,  huntin' good ol' boys and girls. This is for the latter. Trust us. Lettuce wraps aren't just for girls.

Using Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce, we marinated venison roast for 4 hours and basted them with the same sauce on the grill. What resulted was a unique and smoky piece of meat, kind of like barbeque sauce but different. The sauce paired perfectly with the corn salsa we made, which also had a smokey punch with ingredients such as grilled corn, tomatoes, red onion and fresh sage. To tie everything together, thinly sliced, flavorful pieces of grilled venison and corn salsa topped romaine lettuce leaves for extra crunch. We bet you can't eat just one. But it's so healthy that you don't have to feel bad about eating more than one! These are great for a meal or an appetizer for parties. Enjoy with a White Zinfandel wine and tortillas chips to dip in extra salsa.

We want to thank Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce for sending us a jar of their amazing elixir. To buy, please visit their website for store locations or to order online.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 4.5 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1.5 lbs. venison roast
- 1 head of romaine lettuce/bibb lettuce
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce for basting
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce
Sage Corn Salsa
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 5 ears of corn
- 5 roma tomatoes (or any kind on hand)
- 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. Remove all silver-skin and fat from venison roast. Cut roast(s) accordingly so that they're 3/4 - 1 inch thick.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
2. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients: orange juice, lime juice, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1/8 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce. Mix well.
3. Place venison roasts in a zip-lock bag. Pour in marinade and marinate for 4 hours. Flip bag over after 2 hours.

Since it was cold yesterday, we left the meat to marinate at room temperature.
4. Prepare grill. 

Brush olive oil over corn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  
Score an "X" into one side of the tomatoes. Brush olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
5. Grill corn until lightly golden all over. Grill tomatoes until slightly softened, covered. About 15 minutes. 

Allow tomatoes and corn to cool.
6. Remove venison roasts from marinade. Discard marinade. Grill until medium done-ness, about 5 minutes each side. Baste each side with Chatellier's Rare Game Sauce.

Let meat rest for 5 minutes.

7. To make the salsa, slice kernals off corn. Chop flesh of tomatoes. Since we used roma tomatoes, seeds were not a big problem so we didn't bother removing. 

In a medium-size bowl, combine corn, chopped tomatoes, red onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, chopped sage and Serrano chili pepper (optional). Add salt and pepper, to taste.

8. With a serrated knife, slice venison thinly against the grain.
Fill lettuce leaves with sliced venison and corn salsa. Enjoy like tacos!

There will be lots of yummy salsa left, so you should buy tortilla chips to finish it all up. :-) 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Honkin' Snow Goose "Sammich"

Hello All!  Rick here again. This week's recipe is one that I have wanted to do for some time. A lot of people don't care for the taste of goose, snow goose in particular.  I think it has gotten a bad rap, really.  Cook it the right way and you have a flavorful piece of meat. With this in mind, I wanted to take this meat and add some ingredients that would complement it, mainly mozzarella cheese and sauteed mushrooms with onions.  Now, not to go the usual dinner route, I married this with lettuce, tomato and placed everything in a 6' french roll.  What really gave it some pop ( Bam!)  was the mayo-horse radish spread that I made.  Yaa-umm!!  Tonight, I had this sammich with a hot bowl of Venison-Barley soup.  Very nice on a cold winter's night!  ; )  

We would like to thank our friend and waterfowler supreme Bryan Adams for slipping me a couple of snow goose breast for this recipe. Give Bryan a big Boo-yaa!

California's Salton Sea is a popular place for waterfowlers to flock. 

Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: Less than 30 minutes
Servings: 2
- 2 snow goose breasts
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 '6 inch soft french rolls
- seasoned pepper, to taste
- garlic powder, to taste
- mozzarella cheese slices
- tomato, sliced
- lettuce
- 1 package sliced white mushrooms
- 1/2 cup onion, sliced
- 2 tbs. butter
- 4 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 tbs. prepared horseradish sauce

1. Simmer 8 cups of water and 1/4 cup of kosher salt until salt dissolves. Cool. Pour into a zip lock bag and place breasts into the bag. Refrigerate overnight. Here's a helpful video about brining water fowl breasts by Scott Leysath. It's a must watch.:

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

After brining, rinse goose breasts through cold water, dab dry with a paper towel and remove silver-skin and fat.

Cut against the grain into thin slices. 
3. In a pan, melt 2 tbs. of butter over medium-high heat. Cook sliced onion in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Add sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms lose their moisture, about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Stir in 4 splashes of Worcestershire sauce. Salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a pan. Saute sliced goose breast, garlic powder and seasoned pepper until medium done-ness, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
5. Combine mayonnaise and horseradish. Spread onto both sides of french rolls. 

6. Top bottom halves of rolls with sauteed goose breasts and slices of mozzarella cheese. Place in a baking pan and bake in a 350 oven until cheese melts. 

Take out and top melted cheese with mushrooms and onions. 

Add lettuce and tomatoes to "sammiches" and enjoy! 



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