He that strikes the venison first shall be the lord o’ the feast. ~ Shakespeare, King Lear
I admitted to the butcher at the Village Meat Market in Willsboro the other day that I could easily give up beef for game. I enjoy meat of all sorts, but my pallet is especially charmed by seasonal wild game including duck, rabbit, venison, antelope, elk, boar, pheasant and even goose which many people consider too rich or greasy. So you can imagine my pleasure when I received this text message from our caretaker, Doug, earlier today.
Hey, George, I have some venison sausage. Do you want it in the fridge or the freezer?
Thanks! Freezer would be great. I just cooked up the last of my venison sausage yesterday to make green chile stew. Perfect timing. Thank you, Doug.
I’ve been fortunate to receive gifts of venison from Doug and other local hunters ever since moving to Essex. North Country gourmets (and gourmands) tout the merits of tenderloins – the venison equivalent of filet mignon, small strips of meat located along the spine inside a deer’s cavity – and backstraps – larger strips of meat located along the spine outside a deers’s cavity – but ground venison and venison sausage are often overlooked. Not delicacies, perhaps, but unfairly neglected, especially considering how much more ground meat than tender steaks is produced when a deer is butchered.
One of the easiest preparations for ground venison is a grilled burger.
Ground venison makes the tastiest burgers, though the trick is to cook the meat to medium for six to eight minutes total, preserving the texture and juices. ~ Elizabeth Folwell (Adirondack Life)
Because venison is very lean, you may wish to add olive oil, butter or lard when preparing and seasoning the burger.
My favorite way to cook ground venison is to mix it with pork sausage as the protein base for Green Chile Stew, a dish that seduced me when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico during my twenties.
Venison Green Chile Stew.
It looks like dog food,
But it tastes like bliss!
Here’s the most current version of my perennially evolving venison green chile stew recipe.
Venison Green Chile Stew Recipe
This time of year, green chile stew is an ideal core-warning, vitamin rich comfort food. If you’re only familiar with red chile, it’s time to try something new. The flavor is totally different, and you just might change your chile preferences.
Consider the following recipe a rough guide, not a set of rules. (Ditto for all recipes, mine or otherwise!)
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium/large onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb. venison, ground
- 1 lb. pork sausage
- 2 bay leaves
- 16 fl. oz. chicken or beef stock
- 16 fl. oz. white wine or beer
- 3-4 cups green chiles, fire roasted/peeled/chopped
- 2-3 large potatoes, chopped
- salt and pepper
[Note: I prefer a slow cooker to cook green chile stew, but these directions can be adapted to crock and range cooking.]
Heat olive oil in a large skillet (or range-safe slow cooker liner/crock). Add onions and garlic, stirring over low-to-medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent. Add venison and pork. Break up any large lumps of meat and continue stirring and heating until ground meat is fully cooked and mixed with onions and garlic. Add remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and mix thoroughly before transferring to slow cooker. Set temperature and timer for four hours (high) or eight hours (low). Stir and check for adequate moisture from time to time. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!