Monday, November 8, 2010

Nose to Tail... almost

This year we did a much better job of using the lovely venison that Dave got. We've become a little more adventurous, so we saved the heart, liver and tongue, along with the meat and bones this year. With our fabulous pressure canner, we can do meat preservation. Last year was the first year we tried chicken stock, and that was hugely successful. This year, we tried venison chili as well as stock, and they were brilliant.

One of Dave's favourite blogs is Hunter Gardener Angler Cook. Here's his venison stock recipe, which we basically followed (maybe a little less salt, as we didn't add salt to the final product), plus an onion (skin on) and a couple of parsnips, so the result was quite a bit sweeter, likely, than the original.

We made a couple of batches (so far!) of venison chili with our own tomatoes, and while I'd like to use our own kidney beans, the recipe calls for 3 cups worth, and we didn't have enough for two batches as well as saving seed stock for next year. I started with the USDA's Chili Con Carne recipe, then went from there. I can't use chili powder (don't know what's in it that bothers me, but it does), so I added a lot of my own spicing to it. Star anise is just magic with rich meat; I've started adding it to most of my venison recipes.

Venison Chili

  • 3 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans
  • 5-1/2 cups water
  • 3 lbs ground venison
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red & green bell peppers
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp toasted ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 to 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 qts tomatoes, peeled & puréed
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
Yield: 9 pints

Please read Using Pressure Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure:Wash beans thoroughly and place them in a 2 qt saucepan. Add cold water to a level of 2 to 3 inches above the beans and soak 12 to 18 hours. Drain and discard water. Combine beans with 5-1/2 cups of fresh water, and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer 30 minutes. Drain and discard water. Brown ground beef, chopped onions, and peppers, if desired, in a skillet. Drain off fat and add 3 teaspoons salt, pepper, chili powder, tomatoes, and drained cooked beans. Simmer 5 minutes. Caution: Do not thicken. Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations below.

Recommended process time for Chile Con Carne in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.

Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar SizeProcess Time0 - 1,000 ftAbove 1,000 ft
HotPints75 min10 lb15 lb

Dave also got all the accouterments for sausage making this autumn, so we made some batches of venison sausage, too (with lots of meat in the freezer for making plenty more). We started off again at Hunter Gardener Angler Cook with this venison sausage recipe, tried it, then tweaked it for ourselves.

Venison Sausage

4 lb venison meat, ground
1 lb pork back fat, ground
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp (heaping) dried juniper berries, chopped
2 tsp crushed dried sage (omit if canning the sausage meat, rather than casing & freezing)
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1/4 tsp (heaping) celery seed, ground
1/2 tsp cumin seed, toasted & ground
1 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
2 star anise pods, ground
1/2 cup cold grape juice (the original called for gin; this is what we had on hand and it worked just fine)

Follow Hank's instructions for turning into sausages. It's usually suggested that you fry up some of the seasoned meat before you proceed much further, to make sure that you like the flavours you've added before you go to the bother of casing the sausages then find out you don't like it. Not a bad suggestion.

Finally, from one of my favourite cookbooks, Art of the Slow Cooker, comes a marvelous recipe for beef brisket that works just fine with venison cuts, especially big, juicy rump roasts.

Espresso Braised Venison

2 tbsp finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin seed, toasted & ground
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Mix above ingredients in a small bowl & rub all over the meat. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at least 1 hour (we usually let it rest in the fridge overnight).

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 lbs venison
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (we used our own fruit vinegar here, yumm)
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 whole cloves

Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the venison on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Transfer to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker.

Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet, add onion & cook until browned (about 3 minutes). Add remaining ingredients except for the cloves and bring to a boil. Pour over venison in slow cooker and throw the cloves into the liquid. Cover the cooker and cook on high 4 to 6 hours or low 8 to 10 hours until meat is fork tender.

Remove cooked meat from cooker and let rest. Cut across the grain, and serve with the sauce.

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