Sunday, October 27, 2013

Squash and Venison

When Mom and Dad came to visit the other weekend, they brought us a wonderful housewarming gift: venison!  It will warm the house when we cook it, and it will make us think the house is warmer when we eat it was part of a hearty meal.  We start craving heartier meals this time of year, and last weekend we concocted something that fit the bill.  If we had washed down the meal with a glass of wine instead of apple cider, we would have been sleeping by 8:30.  As it was, we made it until 9:00, but not much past.  Here's what we did.

To start with, we took a medium-sized acorn squash, cut it in half, and set it in the oven to bake at 350 °F.  That's not what the photo shows.  Katie moves too fast for photography sometimes.  The caption for this picture is 'we started with a one-pound package of venison chops and trimmed off the gristle and excess fat.  Don't forget to save the scraps for soap or biochar!  In addition to the fat and gristle on the outside, this venison had marbling.  Even though we've always hunted agricultural land, we've never seen marbling in venison before.  Either that makes this the fattest deer ever, or we somehow managed to jump a wild guernsey cow from the willow thicket.'
We cubed up the chops and fried them in a bit of butter.  Mr. Smartypants says, "why did you trim off the fat if you were going to add butter anyway?"  Well, Mr. Smartypants, the deer fat was stuck to all the gristle and we were too hungry to spend the time separating them!  Also, Mr. Smartypants, as long as you're here, would you like to add some pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt to the pan?
When the meat was browned on the outside, we took it out of the pan and replaced it with about a pound of chopped kale.  While the meat was browning, we also started a batch of rice.  It's one cup brown rice, half cup of wild rice, and a little over three cups of water.
While the kale and rice were cooking, we chopped up some red potatoes and put 'em in the microwave for five minutes.
When the squash was done, we scooped it out of the shells and added the browned meat with a bunch of seasonings.  There's a little salt, a little pepper, a lot of garlic powder, and some green onion powder, along with a handful of craisins.  We forgot to take a picture of it, but we also mixed this stuff with a white sauce we made from butter, flour, cream, and apple cider.  If we didn't want the squash mixture to taste sweet, we could have replaced the apple cider with milk.
When the kale was wilted, we set it aside and seasoned it with garlic powder and pepper, then added about three tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and added the potatoes, along with a little salt, some garlic powder, and some cayenne pepper.
To finish, we topped the rice with the 'venison-and-craisin-in-squash-matrix and set it on the plate next to the kale and soft-fried taters.  The apple cider washed it down nicely.  Not too bad for a fall Sunday-night meal!

The recipe:
1 medium acorn squash
   1 T Katie's fox point seasoning (scroll down to recipe section)
   1 t garlic powder
   1 t pepper
   0.5 t white pepper (optional)
   0.25 c craisins
1 lb venison chops, trimmed and cubed
   0.5 t pepper
   0.125 t cayenne pepper
   0.25 t salt
   0.5 t garlic powder
2 T butter
 1 lb kale, chopped
   0.5 t lemon pepper
   0.5 t garlic powder
1 c brown rice
0.5 c wild rice
3 c water
6 medium red potatoes, cubed
   1 t pepper
   0.25 t cayenne pepper
   1 t garlic powder
   0.25 t salt
2 T olive or other oil
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c cream
1 c milk or apple cider

Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and bake at 350 °F until soft.  Scoop out squash meat and set aside.  Brown venison in 2 T butter, season with pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and garlic powder.  Set aside with squash, Fox point seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, white pepper, and craisins.  While venison is browning, begin preparing rice.  In venison pan, wilt kale, set aside, and season with lemon pepper and garlic powder.  While kale is cooking microwave potatoes for 5 minutes.  When kale is done, add olive oil and potatoes to frying pan.  Season with pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt.  Cover and fry until middle is no longer crunchy.  Check frequently to remove stuck potatoes from pan.  While potatoes are cooking, make white sauce by melting 2 T butter and adding flour to make a thick roux, then adding milk or apple cider, cooking until thick, then stirring in cream, and cooking until thick again.  Add white sauce to squash and venison mix, stir to produce uniform matrix of venison and craisins in squash.  Serve squash matrix over rice, and next to kale and potatoes.  Only serve with wine if no further festivities are planned for the evening.

What's your favorite hearty fall meal?  How do you combine venison and squash?  Let us know in the comments section below!