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Billy's buck

We’d like to congratulate Billy Schaller for bagging a six-pointer this past weekend in upstate New York! In Germany, venison is plentiful during the hunting season lasting from October to December, and its preparation is reverently addressed by hunters and chefs alike.

Traditional recipes marry the game with autumnal flavors such as juniper berries, fresh sage, cranberry, and cabernet. In addition, since deer meat is lean, many people introduce pork fat into their recipes. This is not a suggestion we’re about to ignore. That said, below is a recipe we thought Billy might enjoy; it starts with rendered bacon (our double-smoked would work well), and finishes off with a splash of whiskey and a spoonful of cranberry sauce (an excellent way to make use of those Thanksgiving leftovers).

Venison Steaks, adapted from www.mantestedrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces slab bacon, chopped
  • 6 venison cutlets
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef (or homemade venison) stock
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce

Directions:

Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 2 hours

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon in the butter until the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Then drizzle the venison with the juice of half the lemon and sear in the Dutch oven. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Cook the vegetables in pan juices and remaining oil. Sprinkle with flour and salt, then pour in the beef stock and whiskey, and add the fresh thyme. Bring to a low boil, replace venison, and cover.

Place in oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove meat and vegetables from pot, and add the remaining lemon juice and cranberry sauce. Thicken sauce over medium heat and serve with the roast.