February 15, 2007

Cooking with Venison

Today I have a little something different on the menu from my usually recipes. It’s all about venison, that’s deer meat for those who don’t know what it is.

One of the greatest things about living in the country and growing up on a farm is “reaping what you sow.” We always had plenty of deer, wild turkey, crappie, farm-raised beef and on occasion pheasant in our deep freeze at home. My father and brothers are hunters and fishermen, as my husband is. They always fill their farm tags every deer and turkey season and we are able to stock up on meat for the year.

My family always grows a very, very large garden also. My father always says, “Nothing tastes better then when you grow it with your own hands.” I remember as a young child our whole family in the garden picking okra, green beans, corn, watermelons, potatoes…every vegetable your could imagine. On the farm we grew, raised or hunted much of what we ate.

Some might have never had the opportunity to try a wonderful marinated deer roast in a red wine sauce, deer chili, deer sausage, stuffed pheasant or even a roasted wild turkey, but in my home these meals were part of everyday life.

Cooking deer meat is tricky…you have to cook it slow, so to not make the meat tough. Deer roasts are best marinated overnight, to get rid on the “gamey” taste the meat can have sometimes. Here is one stand-by recipe my mother could cook all day and it would be ready at dinnertime.

Deer Chili
1 lb. venison, browned with salt and pepper
2 tsp. cumin
2, 49-oz. cans tomato juice
1 can tomato paste
½ small onion, diced
Additional salt and pepper to taste
1 T. garlic powder
2, 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained
2, 15-oz. cans of chili beans, drained
Dash Tabasco sauce
Chili powder to taste

In a crock pot combine all ingredients and cook on medium for about 6-8 hours. If you prefer thicker chili add more beans and meat. The longer this chili simmers, the better it is.

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