Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cooking Up Wild Game, Asian Style.

Depending on the area you live in, chances are it is deer and elk hunting season. Responsible hunters get their licenses, only kill what they need, or donate any excess to food banks. I understand the need for hunting, not only that they are a food source for humans; but lessening the numbers gives herds a greater chance to survive due to the depleted number of natural predators. No, no, you won't see me with a membership card from PETA, or eating tofu for Thanksgiving. Oh, and people who kill animals just for a trophy such as hides or antlers; those aren't real hunters, they're scavengers; simple as that.

Here in Monticello, Utah, we have an abundance of deer and elk; what I don't understand is why it is not offered on any restaurant menus?  Tourists alone would look forward to purchasing fine meals of venison steak marinated in red wine; or elk stew simmered with root vegetables.  There is a meat processing place right in town; and if the health department approves Wagyu beef shipped in from other states; then why not local meat sources?  Well here's a hint to the local Chamber of Commerce, since they seem to be finally interested in getting new businesses into this area, and also bring in more tourist funds.

Now searching throughout this food blog, you'll notice many a recipe for deer (venison) or elk that goes outside of the typical grilling and barbecuing boxes.  I don't see any reason why this type of meat can't be cooked up in the same methods that a piece of cow beef can.  The gamey taste?  Yes, deer has a gamier flavor than elk or beef, but marinating can ease up that issue for you.

While today's recipe used elk steak cut into strips, it can also use deer meat, since either meat will be marinated for one hour in soy sauce.  What about the health risks for wild game?  If it has been processed at a responsible and reliable meat processing plant, that concentrates on wild game, your worries should be slim to none.  It's about the same chances as buying beef, pork or chicken at the supermarket.

Now lets get cooking with that lovely wild game.  Since this is an Asian style stir fry, you might not be able to find some of the vegetable items in the produce department; frozen will work fine.  Make sure to defrost the vegetables and dry out most of the water; otherwise it will dilute your sauces.  Also, the wonderful thing about stir frying is that a little oil goes a long way in your cooking.

Wild Game Stir Fry
2 lbs deer or elk steak or roast, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 cup soy sauce, divided in half
4 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp each minced garlic and ginger
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup each  straw mushrooms, bean sprouts, baby corn and sliced bamboo shoots
1/4 cup each diced red bell pepper and onion
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
After slicing the meat up into strips, place in large bowl, mix with a half cup of the soy sauce; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in Wok or large skillet over medium-high heat; stir fry meat until browned on all sides; remove.  Add in remaining oil, garlic and ginger; stir fry for 1 minute to allow the garlic and ginger to bloom.  Now add in all the vegetable items and stir fry for 5 minutes.

Return meat to Wok or skillet; add in sesame oil and hoisin sauce; mix and stir fry for additional 5 minutes.  Serve as is, or with rice or noodles.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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