Our venison is unlike the venison you may have tried in the past. Hunted venison is the most common stuff we come across, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the wild. Stress, age and diet all play roles in the taste and texture of the meat.
The venison we sell is farmed in the vast pastures of New Zealand, which means these deer eat a controlled diet of grass, and are processed at the ideal age. They are certified by Cervena, which guarantees that the animals are raised with humane care, fed only a controlled grass diet and are processed at a certain age. As a result, many people are surprised when they first try our venison. It is lean yet tender, and not at all gamey. It’s a perfect option for red-meat recipes when you grow tired of beef. Venison is both elegant (think the lord of the manor) and rustic (think generations of hunters).
Here are a few recipes to inspire your cooking adventures with venison.
Venison Tartare with Foie Gras
1 to 1 1/2 pounds Hudson Valley Grade A duck foie gras
1 3/4 pounds venison stew meat, sinew and tendons removed, if any
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chile pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarsely-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon capers, coarsely chopped
1 loaf country-style bread, sliced 1 inch thick
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season the foie gras with salt and pepper. Place the foie gras in a small roasting pan or ovenproof sauté pan that is slightly larger than the size of the foie. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the liver has browned and the flesh is firm to the touch. Reserve the fat that has rendered from the foie gras and let the lobe cool in the refrigerator until ready for use.
2. While the lobe of foie gras is cooling, put the venison through the meat grinder on a 1/4 inch cutting die. Grind the meat into a cold bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Once the meat is cold again, dice the cooled foie gras into 1/4 inch pieces then add to the bowl with the meat. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper then mound onto cold plates to be served. Slather the slices of grilled bread with foie gras fat and grill both sides, serving 2 pieces per person with a few extra for folks who need more.
Venison Chop, Candied Radishes, and Duck Confit Spoon Bread
1 frenched venison ribrack, cut into 4 double chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarsely-ground black pepper
1 pound red radishes
1/2 cup sugar
1 container veal demi-glace, diluted in 1 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 duck leg confit
1 pint heavy cream
8 ounces brioche, cut into small pieces
1. For the spoonbread: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, combine duck confit, eggs, heavy cream, and brioche. Stir gently until bread is evenly saturated. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an 8×8″ baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.
2. For the radishes: In a medium saucepot over medium heat combine radishes, sugar, and diluted demi-glace. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the radishes are tender. Strain the radishes out and reduce the liquid until thick and syrupy. Stir in the butter. Keep warm until ready to use.
3. Season the venison on both sides with the salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the oil and sear the Cervena on both sides to get a good crust. Cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes on each side. Allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes before plating.
Spoon some of the spoon bread on each plate, add radishes and venison chop. Drizzle with the radish reduction.
Risotto con Cervo
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup minced ventrèche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds venison tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary + small sprigs to garnish, if desired
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup dry red wine, preferably Barolo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken stock, reserving 6 cups for risotto
1 shallot, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Soak porcini in 2 cups of hot water until softened, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the onions and all of the ventreche to the pan, and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the venison, and cook until all the meat liquids have evaporated, about 15 minutes.
3. Pick out porcini and chop them coarsely, reserving the liquid except for the last 2 tablespoons of gritty sediment. Add porcini to casserole, along with bay leaves, rosemary, cloves, and red wine, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the wine has nearly evaporated.
4. Stir in tomato paste and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock slowly, except for reserved 6 cups, and reserved mushroom liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered until meat is tender, and the sauce is thickened, about 1½ hours.
5. Remove bay leaves and rosemary, adjust seasoning, and set aside. Recipe may be made several days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Warm before continuing.
6. Heat the remaining 6 cups of chicken stock and keep warm. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium casserole over medium-high heat. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of onion and the shallot, and sauté until golden. Stir in rice, turning to coat with oil. Pour in white wine, stir well, and add ½ cup of the hot stock, and season with about a teaspoon of salt.
7. Cook, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Stir in half of the venison and sauce. Continue to add hot stock in small batches, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed, stirring constantly, until rice mixture is creamy and al dente.
8. Remove from heat, stir in butter and cheese, and season with pepper. Ladle risotto onto 6 large plates. Spoon the remaining venison and sauce over each portion, add a small sprig of rosemary, and serve.