Prior to this weekend, I’ve never eaten, much less cooked with, venison. I’ve had the opportunity but have turned my cheek, with a curious unfounded distaste. Strange, because I am, after all, an omnivore, reasoning my position on the food chain with moderated gusto.
I try to purchase meat consciously, mindful of how the animal was raised and nourished. As Michael Pollen noted in the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “…we are what we eat, eats”.
I particularly enjoy other wild game and enjoy their lean attributes, borne of wild foraging and muscular girth. To my palate, there a great deal of flavor, texture and “chew”
with wild game. Until now, wild boar, ostrich and elk held a certain caché,
venison did not. It’s ironic, admittedly hypocritical, to have snubbed a local
This weekend we are visiting our friends Jack & Judy in Northem Michigan.*
Judy and I developed a combination of a classic Stroganoff and Paprikash and adapted it the wild venison her husband, Jack, provided.
As I sliced the venison steaks, I marveled at the lean and beautiful meat, completely void of any fat marbling. This was an animal that foraged the Northern Michigan forest grazing on food sources such as wild apples and alfalfa.
You can bet there were no feed lots or growth hormones in this animal’s life, not to mention the shipping “carbon footprint” cost left on the land.
The venison was delicious in this recipe. The flavor and “chew” in contrast to meat dishes, where marbled fat provides a different flavor and texture.
After a day of skiing and snowshoeing in the Northern Michigan forests, we couldn’t have asked for a finer dinner. We served the venison with Al Dente Egg Pasta; it’s easiest to slice the venison if it is partially frozen. Assemble all of your ingredients before cooking; the dinner will come together quickly.