Archive for the 'Venison' Category

Processing What You Hunt

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
Making sausage in the Feral Austin Commercial Kitchen.

Making sausage in the Feral Austin Commercial Kitchen.

This is Passport to Texas

Chris Houston of Austin is a hunter and home cook; he butchers and processes what he harvests; but that’s not always been practical.

We have a decent sized [kitchen] counter space, but certainly a limited area and limited equipment.

Hunters, says Houston, go to processors because of limited workspace, equipment, and a lack experience. He adds processors are decent folks who provide a good service – but he still wonders what comes back to him.

Am I getting back my animal in the sausage? Am I getting all the meat that I had taken in there?

Houston taught himself to butcher and process, and excels at it now. To empower others to do the same, he offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen and his knowledge as Feral Kitchen, a wild food workspace.

Butchering and sausage-making tends to feel complicated. However, it can be really simplified. And so, we really want to pass on that education and that confidence to others. We’ve been offering some classes on general game butchering, and some other classes on sausage-making to kind of help people take that step in the learning curve to doing it themselves. And, really, to just try and simplify the entire process.

Learn more about butchering and processing wild game on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Food Week: Game Traditions from Mexico

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
Cold Venison Salad, image courtesy http://www.cookmonkeys.com/

Cold Venison Salad, image courtesy http://www.cookmonkeys.com/

This is Passport to Texas

Before domestication of livestock, wild game was the primary protein for humans on both side of what is now the US/Mexican border. In Mexico, venison was of particular importance.

Venison is especially important in a ritual sense as well as a culinary sense.

Karen Hursh Graber is senior Food Editor of the internet magazine Mexico Connect.

The word ‘venison’ in English, and the word ‘venado’ in Spanish – are both from the Latin word ‘venari’, which is the verb ‘to hunt.’ So, that’s pretty impressive that the word for deer is the same as the word for hunt. It just shows the symbolic hunting imagery of deer in both cultures.

Mexicans, unlike Americans, are more sparing in their use of venison – and all meat wild and domestic – in their recipes: such as Salpicon De Venado.

Instead of serving a huge hunk of meat, they’ll serve small pieces, and put it in a taco or in a stew. Salpicon is like a cold meat salad – it’s a venison salad. It’s dressed with herbs and spices and they serve it is tacos.

Find Karen Hursh Graber’s recipe for Cold Venison Salad at passporttotexas.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
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Shredded Venison Salad: Salpicon De Venado
by Karen Hursh Graber © 2005
http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2381-shredded-venison-salad-salpicon-de-venado

This dish is found on restaurant menus throughout Mexico, but particularly in the western part of the country and in the Yucatan, where it is called zic de venado. This recipe is a good buffet dish, to be piled on tostadas or served with warm tortillas and habanero salsa. It makes an attractive presentation served on a bed of mesclun greens. Following are two variations on the traditional recipe, one savory and one sweet-and-hot.

Ingredients:

2 pounds venison, cooked and shredded (venison is lean and shreds nicely, like flank or skirt steak)
juice of 4 bitter (Seville) oranges or use half sweet oranges and half limes
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped radishes
salt to taste

Preparation:

Place the venison in a non-reactive bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients and let them rest for 15 minutes to combine the flavors. Add the mixture to the venison and serve immediately or refrigerate and bring to room temperature at serving time.

Serves 8-10 as part of a multi-course buffet or as an appetizer.

Variation I:

Omit the radishes and add ½ cup chopped green olives and 1 firm-ripe avocado, diced.

Variation II:

Omit the radishes and add 1 green mango, diced, 1 diced plantain and 2 (or more, to taste) Serrano chiles, seeded and diced.

Food Week: Keeping Game from Tasting Gamey

Monday, November 21st, 2016
Susam Ebert, from The Field to Table Cookbook, Welcome Books 2015

Susan Ebert, from The Field to Table Cookbook, Welcome Books 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Do you think wild game has an off taste?

Most wild game and fish, if it’s off-tasting, is ruined between the kill and the kitchen, and not in the kitchen, itself.

Susan Ebert is a hunter, angler, forager and cook; she wrote the book Field to Table, a guide to growing, procuring, and preparing seasonal foods—including wild proteins.

As good as the recipe might be, unless people know how to care for that game from the time it’s harvested, to the time that they’re ready to cook with it, they’re going to be disappointed with the results.

A meal of game begins with a clean kill, proper field dressing and getting everything on ice as soon as possible. At home…

Venison and wild duck—I will dry age those. Maybe 48 hours. Set them over a drip pan, on a rack. And let them just dry age in the refrigerator uncovered, with air circulating around them.

Ebert recommends brining rabbit and feral hog; brine can be as simple as sugar and salt dissolved in water.

Let that brine for a couple of days. Then, sear it over the grill and then either move it over indirect heat or put in it the smoker at a low temperature…

Find a recipe from Susan Ebert’s book Field to Table at passporttotexas.org

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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Redbud Blossom Jelly
Yields 6 half-pints

Ingredients

  • About a gallon ZipLoc bag of rebud blossoms
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 5 teaspoons Pomona Pectin© calcium water
  • 5 teaspoons Pomona Pectin© pectin powder
  • 2 1/2 cups organic sugar

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the redbud blossoms, and pick out any wooden stems and bugs. Pack loosely into a half-gallon container with a tightly fitting lid and cover completely with boiling water. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or double cheesecloth in the morning, pressing lightly with a wooden spoon (don’t squeeze too hard, or you will get a bitter flavor).
  3. Add water, if necessary, to make 5 cups redbud juice. Pour into a large stockpot, and add the lemon juice and calcium water.
  4. Prepare your hot-water-bath canner, and wash 6 half-pint jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water. When the canner begins to boil, put the jars in it so they stay hot. Heat the lids and bands in a small saucepan; do not boil.
  5. Combine the sugar and pectin powder in a small bowl, and stir thoroughly to blend. Bring the juice to a full boil over high heat, then drift in the sugar/pectin mixture a bit at a time, stirring vigorously. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a second boil.
  6. Pour into jars, release bubbles with a plastic spatula, affix lids, and finger-tighten bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let the jars remain in the canner for 5 minutes. Remove them to a folded towel, and let sit overnight to completely set up.
  7. Store for up to a year in a cool, dark place.

Recipe from Susan Ebert, The Field to Table Cookbook

Benefits of Hunters for the Hungry

Thursday, October 27th, 2016
Donated Venison via Hunters for the Hungry program, Image courtesy of http://www.newschannel10.com/

Donated Venison via Hunters for the Hungry program, Image courtesy of http://www.newschannel10.com/

This is Passport

Texas meat processors can help feed fellow Texans by distributing hunter-donated venison to needy families through the Hunters for the Hungry program.

Well, this is a wonderful program that helps us both fight hunter and promote environmental stewardship.

Removing deer from the landscape each year promotes healthier habitat and deer populations. Celia Cole is Executive Director of Feeding Texas, which facilitates Hunters for the Hungry. She says the key to making the program work is an active network of processors.

We ask them to provide the processing at a minimal cost—we suggest around $40—and then the hunter makes that donation. So, let’s say the hunter drops off a deer, the processor will package it. And then, we provide them with a list of hunger relief agencies in their area. And they can either contact that agency to come pick it up, or they can drop it off. And, of course, they receive a tax deduction for their donation, as well.

Hunters who donate deer to the program should check with their tax preparers to see if they can claim a deduction as well. Meanwhile, Hunters for the Hungry encourages meat processors to join the program. Find more information at feedingtexas.org.

And processors can go there to sign up. We also recruit directly off of lists that we have from the health department. So, we will reach out and ask processors to participate.

Hunters and processors who participate in the program are responsible for providing more than 9 million servings annually of venison to needy families.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

A Hunter / Cook with Tips on Cooking Game

Thursday, October 13th, 2016
Solana Ranch near Salado, TX.  Photos for TPW Magazine story "Hunting with Chef Marcus"

Solana Ranch near Salado, TX. Photos for TPW Magazine story “Hunting with Chef Marcus”

This is Passport to Texas

To coax the best flavor from deer hunters will harvest this fall, proper care from field to plate, is a must. Just ask Marcus Paslay [paz-LAY]. He’s chef and owner of Clay Pigeon Food & Drink in Fort Worth.

Every step of the way—the way it’s handled—drastically affects flavor. You know, in the field, it’s something you want to get cleaned out as soon as you can, and get it cold as soon as you can. It keeps that flavor a little bit more clean.

Clean and less gamey, but not without some gaminess.

It is an acquired taste. So, I think whoever’s eating it is going to have to have a sense of adventure to a certain extent. But there are ways to overcome it a little bit. I always like using brines. Soaking the meat in a sugar, citrus, salt bath overnight—or whatever it takes. That really helps out well with big game such as venison, or hog.

Brining is just one method Chef Paslay uses to impart flavor into game.

Another way I really love on venison is rubbing it down with coffee grounds. And the tannins in the coffee help break down the proteins and they also impart a pretty strong flavor themselves, which masks the gaminess of the meat.

Find Chef Marcus Paslay’s recipe for coffee rubbed venison loin is in the October issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.