Friday, May 20, 2011

Bambi does it Italian style.

Thought this was going to be a porn video, didn't you?  Shame on you, but since I now have your attention, lets talk about deer meat, or, as it's also called, venison.  In our area we have a type of deer called Mule deer, simply because their ears have a shape similiar to those on a mule.  They are a larger sized deer where the bucks can get up to 300 lbs, and the does to 175 lbs.

Anyway, a little while ago, the hunter I know, Charlie, gave me some deer meat, and it can basically be cooked in the same manner as the elk I had made before.  Now I had only cooked deer meat once before, and it was a total disaster....very gamey and so tough, even the dogs wouldn't eat it.  So, of course, I was a bit concerned about messing this up again; but I didn't want to be boring either and cook it the same as the elk.  Remember, this blog is about food adventures; not doing the same old, same old.

Since the main cuisine I make is Italian based, I allowed myself some room for playing.  This time I was going to make sure I tenderized the deer meat.  I used balsamic vinegar to give the meat a more robust flavor, so the gaminess was gone, and it tasted as if wine had been infused into the meat; and alcohol wasn't even used.

...and here's the complete recipe, so try it, and enjoy!

Venison Ragu’

1 ½ lbs deer steak, cut into ¼” slices, no more than 2” long
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, slivered
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning mix
5 cups uncooked rigatoni
shredded Parmesan cheese
In a medium bowl, combine the deer with oil, vinegar and garlic; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove meat from marinade.  In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the meat 5 minutes on first side, turn over and spread the onion over top; cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and mix in puree, diced tomatoes, paste and seasoning; cover and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally.
After two hours, prepare rigatoni according to package directions, drain and add to skillet; mix and let cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over top.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Mary Cokenour

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