I have a friend who shoots animals: tasty, tasty animals. "You kill it, I'll cook it." is our arrangement. So here we go. And big thanks to Forum Goon "TheFace" for all of his help in making this.
Ryan - the mighty hunter. And "the beaver" being a jackass.
I've never actually cooked game meats before so I did a little research. Apparently a good acidic balance is required to both soften the meat and counter some of the gamey character. Just so happens that the recipe I wanted to use; a French style, was designed with that in mind.
Meet the players.
* 1 pound of butcher-shop mesquite smoked bacon * Venison stew meat * Fresh Rosemary * Fresh Thyme * Fresh Basil * Fresh Garlic * Shitake Mushrooms * Yukon Gold Potatoes * Red Potatoes * Yellow Onion * Shallots * Zucchini Squash * Tomatoes * Carrots * Sourdough Bread * Organic Beef Broth * (n/p) Some leftover vegetable broth
And to drink
* In Heat Wheat from Flying Dog brewery in Denver, Co * Handley Cellars Pinot (also goes in the soup) from Anderson Valley, Ca, USA * Le Sang des Cailloux (tr. Blood of the Stones) from Vaqueras, France * Mak Cellars Shiraz from Claire Valley, Ausstralia
All good food starts with bacon. Bacon is one of the greatest things ever.
Tomatoes will help provide acidity in the soup.
TheFace help prepare the herbs by pulling the leaves from the stems/branches.
Yes, ladies. He's single.
I chop garlic while we get ready to fire up the bacon.
On the right side of the stove, we get the soup base started. The bacon fat will provide the oil needed to start these vegetables cooking. Vegetable oil should be on standby in case you don't get enough fat from the bacon. Turns out that our bacon was too lean so we needed it.
I smell BACON!!!
Cook the onion and shallots first.
Add the carrots. TheFace works on the meat side of the stove.
The venison will be browned in the bacon fat. Once finished, the pan will be deglaced with a cup of the pinot and a splash of brandy.
Add the zucchini and some flour to provide some thickening. Crank up the heat a bit to facilitate cooking the flour. Meanwhile, TheFace transfers the cooked bacon pieces to my pan to make room the venison.
Adding the garlic (7 cloves) and more flour.
And the herbs along with a metric fuck-ton of black pepper. In this case I'm using fresh-ground Indian Malabar peppercorns. So good.
The venison browns nicely in the bacon fat.
Add the mushrooms after the flour is cooked so they don't steal all the precious fat for themselves.
That venison looks good. Should make a PETA member drool.
The venison has been tranferred to the other pan to wait until the stock pot is ready.
Deglace the pan by adding the pinot. I look like I'm concentrating really intently.
Bad picture, but note the purple color to the pan and the way it's near solid at the edges. The deglacing is now finished.
Add the potatoes to the soup. The starch from the potatoes was supposed to thicken it in to stew, but it didn't work. Sadness.
After tasting the broth, I decided it needed a little salt. Course sea salt. Yum.
Let the soup cook, enjoy a beer for your labors. (Yeah, I know. I'm not very photogenic)
Yep. That's soup.