Saturday, December 21, 2013

Inspired by the 80s: Microwave Venison Stew

I'd like to start by saying I didn't fill my tag this year. It's alright, there's always next year. However, my brother did take a nice doe on opening day that dressed out to 85 lbs. With that much meat in the freezer, I felt we had some room to experiment with our recipes, going beyond the traditional venison stew recipes. To that end, I've been playing with simple and fast meals, and have stumbled on a long forgotten art from the 1980's - game recipes using the microwave.There's a long history with this style, as noted in the Microwave Game and Fish Cookbook by Paula Del Giudice, from 1985.

Recipe Preparation
 
Paula has some decent ideas for getting started, and I drew some from her suggestions. However, I'm someone who does it their own way. So - I'll start by cubing 2 lbs of meat and marinading it for about five hours in the refrigerator, instead of my usual over-night milk bath. For the marinade, I use 1 1/2 cups of a heavy red wine as the base, adding an additional cup of beef bullion (1 cube and 1 cup of boiling water), 2 Tbs of olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, and then grind a bit of black peppercorn to taste.

Browning the Venison
 
The venison is removed from the fridge and drained, but I'm careful to put aside the marinade itself for later. I'll dust the venison with flour, and brown the cubes in bacon drippings over a medium heat. Next, the cubes move to a microwave-safe casserole dish along with the remaining ingredients.
 
Bringing the Venison Stew Together

The remainder of the recipe rounds out with 1 cup of sliced carrots, 2 cups of cubed butternut squash, 4 cups of halved red potatoes, 1/2 cup of freeze-dried chives, 1 pint of canned tomatoes (drained), and one cup of peas. These are added to the casserole dish, along with the marinade. Next, I cover the dish and microwave on HIGH for five minutes - just long enough to get the juices bubbling. Once they are, I'll reset the microwave to the lowest setting as a simmer, and set it for 30 more minutes.
 
To Serve

This is a rich recipe, as many game meals are, so I ladle sparingly. If I've had time to make some, I'll serve alongside a hearty Tuscan bread loaf and a light vinegar and oil arugula and endive salad. For refreshment, I prefer a brown ale, or a seasonal wine from my local vineyard.

Bon appetite!