Recipe: Venison Scrapple

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Today, if you offer someone a little hunk of meat pudding you are more likely to be given a restraining order than a “thank you.”   However, this meat pudding from Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic states should be made by hunters at least once in their lives.  It’s mostly a breakfast dish–think maltomeal pancake with a crispy outside and creamy inside with bits of meat–and makes an excellent vessel for your favorite jam, preserves, or syrup.

I’m fond of old recipes and this meat pudding is a close relative to the Irish white and black puddings, the Scottish Haggis, and German panhas.  It is definitely a working man’s recipe intended to make the best use of the entire animal and packing a days worth of calories into a meal. I eat it like I would French toast or pancakes.

Traditionally it’s made with pig, but I decided to take the trimmings from the doe I killed with Clayton and give scrapple a go. Don’t hold yourself to the exact amounts of cornmeal and flour I listed, because you are cooking it to texture.  I ended up using all of what I listed, but the amount of stock you finish with will vary from mine thus making the dry ingredients differ as well.

Ingredients

  • 10 pounds of deer trimmings and bones
  • 1 deer heart
  • 1 deer liver
  • 1 deer head
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped carrot
  • 6 bay leaves
  • I cup of fresh rosemary
  • 10 pounds of cornmeal
  • 2 pounds of Buckwheat Flour (Can substitute Oat Flour or Quinoa Flour)
  • 1/2 cup of grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup of coarse black pepper
  • 2 TBS ground cardamom
  • Salt

Method

  • Save the trimmings, offal bones and head from your deer.  Sadly, my heart shot placement left me with only the liver to use.  092
  • Combine the well salted meat, bones, and offal with the vegetables, rosemary, and bay leaves.  Cover with water and bring to a simmer for at least 4 hours.
  • With a slotted spoon and tongs, remove the bones, meat, and veggies and allow to cool.  Discard the bones and veggies. Strain and save the stock.   DSC_0984_zpsee3c0270
  • Chop your meat to no larger than a quarter.  Skin the tongue, remove any gristle.  Mix the rest of the spices with the chopped meat and return to the stock.  Bring to a gentle boil.
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  • Slowly mix in corn meal, stirring constantly.  Stop adding cornmeal when consistency approaches “soupy maltomeal.”  Now begin to add buckwheat flour, careful not to allow clumps to form.  Your arm should now begin to hurt from stirring so much and for so long.  Do your best not to allow the scrapple to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • When your stirring instrument, I used an over sized BBQ spatula, can stand up on its own, it is ready to be poured into a wax paper lined square loaf container.  I ended up using every single container I owned, regardless of shape.  Next time, I’ll buy some of those cheap aluminum rectangle containers from the store.  004
  • When ready to serve, slice off a piece, dust in flour and fry till crisp in some bacon fat.  Drizzle some maple syrup,  add a piece of ham , fry an egg and then dig in!

Have you eaten or made scrapple?  What do you think?

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Dueling Sausage–A Photo Odyssey

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Not surprisingly, German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck–the only man who is known for turning down a chance at a sausage duel to the death–had this to say, “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.”   To that I say fooey.  Here’s a ringside seat for the duel between 2 rookie sausagemen and 100 pounds of free range meat.

 

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This meat grinder, a 1 3/4 hp Cabela’s Commercial Grade Grinder is the real deal. Silver skin is no match. My old grinder would produce a meat “paste” and would get really hot.

 

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Home School classroom turned sausage production room.  The next day, I got to learn how to use a steam cleaner.

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Early in the bout, the tag team pair were confident bordering on cocky, “We have plenty of time to build the fire, we should be smoking in about 2 hours. “

 

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“Cutting the meat up in cubes, measuring the spices and grinding the meat is the long part. Stuffing, tying and smoking will go quickly,” said me before a I was properly educated.

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We ground the meat once, through a course die half frozen and into a bowl floating in ice. The grinder barely got warm.

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This part was tough. There is a thing known as the “primary bind” where you mix a liquid with your ground meat. The liquid needs to be ice cold. This is 100 pounds of ground meat, half frozen and it was brutal on our hands.

 

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My fingers have never been colder. My confidence was beginning to falter.

 

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The tray guard did not last long.  I don’t suggest you remove it, but we lost a screw in the process and it was deemed useless.  (Special Prize in one sausage!)

 

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The easy way to explain how you put this a casing onto the stuffer attachment is not appropriate for younger audience, so lets just say its kind of like rolling a water balloon onto a garden hose.

 

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The most difficult aspect of the whole project was tying the sausages. We mistakenly thought it was necessary, now I’ve learned it’s not. Never again will I tie.

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A third party entered into the fray, ready to help despite his limited age and experience.

 

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The youngster was game, but demanded gloves.

 

 

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“Dad, this kind of looks like poop.”

 

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So we started at 12:30. It’s now 11 pm. I’m guessing we aren’t going to smoke’m tonight. Let’s make some giant spiral sausages.

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There’s no shame to admitting to a draw.

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A stand alone devoted stuffer would have sped things up , but the grinder’s sausage attachment was pretty fast after we got the hang of it.

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I wanted to quit.

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Ran out of twine, Oliver’s kite string was commandeered. That’s what happens when you bail on us for Sponge Bob.

 

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At this point, form was thrown out the window. I just wanted to be done.  Fortunately the last batch was in the hopper. We could see the end.

 

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I failed to notice the “hang and dry for two hours” portion of the recipe. We were left scrambling for rods to hang them from.

 

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In the 7th hour, we didn’t care how the sausage looked. Hungry, tired, with shaking fingers we battled on…

 

 

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Blocks of ice lined the bottom of the cooler and we finished. 100 pounds of sausage stuffed and tied. Tomorrow we’d smoke.

 

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The next day we are ready to smoke. It’s supposed to rain, but we braved the elements.

 

 

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Our initial setup which would be fine tuned to meet our needs.

 

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Smoke is already rolling up even before our roof goes on.

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Small fire, we would later add more wood to speed the process

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View from above as the roof went on.

 

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Our original window was pool towel. Then we found one more piece of tin.

 

 

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Scene from behind the towel. Magical.

 

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We soon switched to this marvel of engineering which allowed us to see the temperature inside our smoker without opening the window.

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Monitoring the internal temperature of the sausage, we slid the wire thermometer into a thick link inside.

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Almost done

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The sheet metal above the fire (oak and pecan) prevents direct heat cooking.

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Threw on some ribs because I hate to waste smoke

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Pulling off the goods

 

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About to take an ice bath to stop further cooking.

 

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Artsy.

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Sausage on Deck

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Chillin

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Function over form.

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Rain actually helped the process–kept the smoker cool.

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Gazing longingly into your own smokehouse while it’s smoke embraces the sausages you made is one of life’s finer treasures.

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It started raining and we had to make adjustments to our master of engineering.

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The view through our window

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A gastronomic peep show

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We had to test some of the product.

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Victory.

Recipe: Roast Joints of Venison in the English Style with Yorkshire Pudding

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20140313-213418.jpg I’m a history buff.  I like old things–be they Clovis arrowheads, Viking shields, or fishing and hunting pictures from a century ago.  This explains why a dish from the book The Whole Duty of a Woman, published 1737,  has made its way into a blog about doing manly things. During a recent freezer defrost, I ran across some deer shanks from 2012.  They are still  fine to eat, but as a good manager of the deep freeze, it was up next in the batting order.  Thumbing through my copy of Le Guide Culinaire, another old text written by the king of chefs and chef of kings–Auguste Escoffier– I decided use my shanks in recipe number 3894, which reads thus:

3894 Roast Joints of Beef in the English Style with Yorkshire Pudding.

“These are cooked rather well done and are always served accompanied with Yorkshire pudding.”

Easy right? So with Auggie’s guidance, this is how I did it:

Ingredients

Roast Joints of Venison

  • Venison Shank per person
  • Bacon
  •  3 tablespoons of bacon fat, rendered
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup of diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 4 cups of venison stock

Yorkshire Pudding

  •  1 cup of flour
  • 1.25 cups of milk
  •  pinch of sea salt
  •  3 tablespoons of bacon fat, rendered.
  •  3 eggs
  •  pinch of black pepper
  •  pinch of grated nutmeg

  Method

Roast Joints of Venison

  • First, melt your rendered bacon fat over medium high heat in a dutch oven.
  • Season and lard your shanks with bacon.
  • Brown your well seasoned shanks on each side, about 5 minutes each, then setting each aside in a large bowl.
  • Deglaze with red wine, scraping all the bits of flavor from the pan between each shank.  Then pour the juices into your reserve bowl until all shanks are browned.
  • Add veggies and cook until glimmering, about ten minutes.
  • Deglaze with the remainder of the wine and return shanks and drippings to the bowl.
  • Braise for 4 hours at 275 or until meat begins to separate from the bone.

Yorkshire Pudding

  • Turn your oven to its highest setting, or about 550 degrees.
  • Whisk eggs, milk, salt, spices and flour into a bowl and let it sit for half an hour in a pitcher that’s easy to pour.
  • Drop your bacon fat into a well seasoned cast iron skillet, add a spoonful of juice from your roasted joints
  • Turn your oven to its highest setting, and insert dish into the oven for about 5 minutes
  • Carefully open the door and pour the batter into cast iron skillet and cook for 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and cook for 15 more minutes
  • Remove and serve immediately.

20140313-213606.jpg This quintessential British dish is tremendous.  With an eggy custard like middle with crispy crust at the edges, akin to savory French Toast, Yorkshire pudding is a wonderful medium on which to serve braised venison.  There’s a reason this dish has lasted so long.  Get after it!

Recipe: Nachos Corazon

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Ingredients

If you’ve gone to the effort to chase down an animal, kill it, skin it, and bring it home you simply should eat its heart. Cooked of course.  It is a dense meat due to the tight junctions of the myocardial cells giving it a snappy crunch, and heart’s rich flavor lends itself well to bold spices. Cleaning them is easy, just remove the great vessels and anything that doesn’t look like meat. These simple, quickly prepared nachos are perfect for worn out hunters who need a satisfying meal to celebrate their victory in the field.

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • (1) Big game heart diced
  • (1) Yellow Onion diced
  • (4) Chile Peppers diced (I used my Rain Forests, but jalapenos work fine)
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TBS of bacon fat
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Pinto beans (here is a tremendous recipe)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  • Melt your bacon fat in a heavy duty skillet.
  • Salt and pepper your diced heart.
  • Add the heart, peppers, onions, and garlic to your skillet and cook until veggies are soft and heart is cooked to preference.
  • Arrange the chips on your plate and ladle warm pinto beans over chips, add the heart and veggies, then sprinkle with cheese.  I like mozzarella  and cheddar.
  • Garnish with sliced lime, guacamole, queso fresca and/or pico de gallo.

Straightforward and easy this is a tremendous way to stuff your gullet and revel in the completeness killing your own meat brings.  What do you do with hearts?

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Recipe: Osso Buco

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When you think about the tenderness of game, there is chewy and then there is deer shank chewy.  The problem, however, is once you trim away the gristle and fascia from deer shanks, there is little meat left to grind.  This recipe is the answer for this particularly difficult cut of meat.   My take calls for red wine, mirepoix, and tomatoes.  Enjoy.

Serves 4

Prep Time 2 ½ hours

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven
  • Wooden Spatula or Spoon
  • Tongs

Ingredients

Osso Buco

  •  ½ cup coconut oil or bacon fat rendered
  • Four Venison Shanks, cut into discs 1 ½ inch thick or not.
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of venison, duck, or chicken broth.
  • 2 bay leaves,
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes

Gremolata

  • 6  cloves grated garlic
  • 6 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½  cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 325.  In a large enough Dutch oven, melt a couple tablespoons of fat or oil until shimmering over medium high heat.  Pat your shanks dry, and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Then brown 2 of your shanks for five minutes on each side.  They should have a crisp orange-brown surface when you finish.  Set aside in a bowl, and remove Dutch Oven from heat.  Add a cup of red wine and with your wooden spatula scrape up the flavor ladened brown pieces and then the pour liquid into the bowl of 2 shanks you set aside.  Repeat the same process with the other two shanks.
  2. After deglazing the second time, add the remaining oil and bring to a shimmer again.  Add the carrots, celery and onions plus about a half teaspoon of salt and black pepper and fry about ten minutes stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.  Now add the broth, remainder of wine, bay leaves, tomatoes and dump the bowl of shanks and all the juices back into the pot.  Bring to a solid simmer.  Cover with lid, and place in oven for an 1 ½ hours, or until tender, but not falling off the bone.
  3. Toss the gremolata ingredients  into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. This is sort of pico de gallo-esque, in that you can sprinkle some in the pot of shanks and add some to your individual servings.
  4. Remove each shank and serve plain or with risotto, polenta, or mashed potatoes.  Ladle juices and veggies from the pot over individual servings

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