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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Venison and/or Wild Pork Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce

Venison and/or Wild Pork Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce

This recipe has become my “go to” meal to prepare for company; either a small get-together or a camping group of 50. I’ve received compliments from fans of wild game and friends who didn’t realize they were sharing God’s wild bounty. I really like this recipe because it works equally well with venison or wild pork.  It went over very well on our annual camping trip to Wyoming.  It works particularly nicely because it can be frozen and can feed a large number of people.  The enchiladas can be frozen without the sauce and transported in zip-lock bags.  The sauce can be transported in clean, plastic milk containers in a cooler and can be heated and added at the last minute.

Venison (or Wild Pork) Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce

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1 lb. cooked, shredded venison or wild pork (see all day cooking method in “Come and Take It”)

chili powder, comino (cumin) and salt to taste

beef stock and/or drippings from all-day-cooked meat

corn tortillas

corn oil

fresh mozzerella

5 poblano peppers

1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

approx. 5 oz. sour cream (just more than 1/2  small container)

1/2 cup beef (or venison) stock

salt and pepper to taste

Season shredded venison or wild pork with chili powder, comino, and salt to taste.

Heat about a 1/2 inch of cooking oil in a small skillet.  When oil is pretty hot, coat one tortilla one side at a time until tortilla is soft.

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Lay tortilla on a flat surface.  Spread with a line of seasoned meat.

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Roll ingredients into tortilla and lay enchilada in a 9 x 13 baking dish, seam-side down.

Continue this process until you have rolled as many enchiladas as you need.  Set aside.

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Remove stem ends of poblanos.  Cut down the sides and remove seeds.  Lay poblanos on a baking sheet, skin side up.  Set under a broiler until skin chars and bubbles.  Or poblanos can also be left intact and turned periodically until fully charred.

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Remove poblanos to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest for at least 20 minutes to allow skins to loosen.

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Creamy Poblano Sauce

During this time, saute onions and garlic in a small amount of the corn oil used for the tortillas in a cast iron skillet.

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Place onions and garlic in a blender.  Add sour cream and stock.

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Remove skins and seeds from poblanos and add to blender.

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Blend ingredients.  Add salt and pepper and blend again. At this point, you can adjust the heat of your sauce by adding additional sour cream and stock to produce less heat.

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Poblanos are fickle indeed.  Some of them are very mild while others are as hot as jalapeños. Unfortunately, there’s not really any way that I know of to determine the heat of the pepper until you taste it.  This can be done after they are roasted.  You’ll need to taste each one.  If the poblanos are not as hot as you like, a jalapeno or two can be added to the roasting.  If the poblanos seem to be pretty hot, additional sour cream and stock can tone things down a bit.

Once the sauce is just right, pour over enchiladas, dot with fresh mozzarella, and heat in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream.

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3 Comments

Posted by on February 22, 2013 in camping, Hunting, Recipes, Venison, Wild Pork

 

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Maple Wild Pork Sausage

Maple Wild Pork Sausage

We were blessed this season to end up with a freezer full of wild pork. We have roasts, ribs, shanks, pork belly, and lots of ground meat.

 

 

 

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I was particularly excited to have the ground pork. Last year, for the first time, I bought several of the pan sausage mixes. With some tweaking, I was pleased with the results. My pigslayers love breakfast sausage and I got thumbs-up all around.

One of the things I discovered from using the mixes is that my family prefers more intense flavor in the sausage than the recommended amounts suggested in the directions. Luckily, I learned a trick from a friend of mine that allows for the doctoring of the recipe before an entire batch of ground meat is wasted. Prepare one pound according to the directions, let it rest for about an hour in the fridge for the flavors to mix and absorb, then make a small patty and fry it up. Give it a taste test. If the intensity of flavor is to your liking, then you’re good to go. Prepare as large a batch as you need. If the flavor is lacking, tweak it up, make a patty, fry it up, taste again.
Usually, I prepare a only a couple of pounds of sausage at a time. Even though we have more than 20 pounds of ground wild pork packaged in one-pound bags, I like the versatility of having the plain ground meat in the freezer. I can pull out, thaw, and season up just what I want for the next week or so.

Maple Wild Pork Sausage

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1 pound coarse ground pork
1/4 cup maple syrup
5 tsp. LEM Backwoods Maple Sausage Seasoning
1 tsp. Tommy’s Salt & Pepper Mix*

1. First of all, double, triple, or quadruple this recipe as desired. Second, don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe. Pork is very forgiving. You know what I mean! Combine maple syrup, seasoning mix, and salt & pepper mix in a measuring cup. In a bowl, add to ground pork using a fork or your very clean hands. Because of the maple syrup, the mixture will remain very sticky.  Cover with plastic wrap.
2. Let flavors combine in the fridge for at least an hour. Make a small patty, fry it up about 4-5 minutes per side in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until beautifully browned and fully cooked inside since it’s pork. Do a taste test. If the flavors are too intense, add more ground pork. If too mild, add extra stuff.
3. Once you have achieved the desired flavors, fry up as in step 2. Or you can divide up into one pound rolls, roll up in plastic wrap and freeze.

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This is the perfect thing to prepare for Valentine’s Day.  Who needs chocolate when you can have pork?

* See recipe in “A Thing or Two about Game Birds”

 

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Officially Older Than Dirt

It was my birthday this week. The older I get the less inclined I am to feel the need to throw a big Hoo-Hah to celebrate. However, this year was pretty awesome. My deerslayer surprised me with a great camera (a Nikon D3100).

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I’ve really enjoyed photographing my recipes and the processes involved. This camera should provide me with a lot more options than my old point & shoot. I feared that the complexity of using a “real camera” would overwhelm me. This camera does everything that I could ever need and more. I secretly dreaded tackling the thick instruction manual, however. I was greatly relieved to discover that most of the instructions were on a DVD. It’s so much easier to watch someone flip a switch, attach a lens, push a particular button. My junior deerslayers and I were having such a good time photographing finished recipes and such that we really wanted to “do it like the experts”. This camera has the capabilities to do exactly that (even if I don’t yet)!

In addition to my fabulous new camera, one of my Junior Deerslayers prepared a fabulous citrus tart for my special day. Don’t forget that we live in the Rio Grande Valley and have citrus coming out our ears at this time of year (figuratively, of course). But, since I’ve always been particularly fond of citrus recipes of all sorts, she knew that it would be just the thing for my birthday. This one is now my new favorite. The praline crust is good enough to eat just by itself. As a matter of fact, she prepared extra crust so I could eat it with a spoon. I love that girl! This recipe calls for fresh citrus as well as frozen orange juice concentrate so it has a wonderful sweet-tart fresh burst of citrusy punch! My junior deerslayer topped the whole thing off with some fresh whipped cream. I polished the rest of it off with coffee the next morning!

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.Which brings me to my next birthday surprise. My senior junior deerslayer brought me some delicious ground pecan-flavored coffee from Independence Coffee Company in Brenham, Tx. I’ve found that often flavored coffees can be overwhelming. This one was smooth and subtle. An absolute delight. The kitchen smelled wonderful. The combination of the pecan coffee with the citrus tart w/ praline crust was as much as any mom could ask for to round out a perfect birthday.

Citrus Tart

Praline Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter

3 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup ground pecans

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Filling:

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs, separated

Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Mix all ingredients for praline crust.  Press evenly into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside.  There will be some left over to eat with a spoon!

2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, orange juice concentrate, lemon juice, and egg yolks until blended.

3. Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into citrus mixture and pour into prepared crust. Set on cookie sheet or foil on center rack in oven.  Sometimes the butter in the crust will eek out and drip into the oven.

4.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes just until filling is set.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours.  Remove tart from pan, and place on a serving dish.

5.  Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Use pastry bag to pipe whipped cream onto tart or just plop artistically on top.  Truly, there’s no such thing as unattractive whipped cream!

 
 

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Venison Parmesan with Fabulous Sauce

Venison Parmesan with Fabulous Sauce

This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. It’s elegant enough to serve to company, the sauce can be made up ahead to save time, the meat can even be pounded out a day ahead, as well. When I prepared it this time, my younger junior deerslayer (bless her heart) prepared the sauce, tweaking the recipe as she went. I wrote everything down as she put it in. The sauce was fabulous and the recipe is hers!
Another thing I love about this recipe is that, if you’re having an “off” day, you can still put together a pretty darned good version of the venison parmesan by just using your favorite pasta sauce in a jar. Is it as good as the real deal? Of course not! But if you’re dangling by a thread and don’t want your family to starve, just keep this in mind.
Additional time can be saved by making this a “second day recipe”. By that, I mean that, if you used one of the larger muscles from a venison hind quarter (see instructions on my post “Bacon Wrapped Garlic Venison Roast” for how to use the different muscles in the hind quarter), there will be enough meat to pound out steaks for two meals for a family of 3 or 4. If you pound out your steaks on one day for chicken fried steak or something like that, there will be pounded steaks left over for you to use the next day for a surprisingly elegant meal. No one need know that you’re dangling precariously by your last nerve!

Venison Parmesean
For the sauce:

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olive oil, 2-3 tbsp.
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
dried Italian Herbs (or fresh if you prefer)
1/2 tsp. redpepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine
28 oz. (or so) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan
sliced, fresh mozzarella
salt
16 oz. dried fettucine

for the steaks:

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1 lb. pounded venison steaks (backstrap or hind quarter muscle*)
1/2 cup grated parmesan for coating
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp. dried Italian herbs
Tommy’s Salt & Pepper mix**
2 eggs, beaten in pie plate

To prepare the sauce:
1. Saute garlic in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients (except parmesan and mozzarella) and allow to simmer while the meat is prepared, about 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the meat. These steaks can be made from backstrap, obviously, or one of the large muscles of the hind quarter. Of the four large muscles of the hind quarter, the rectangular muscle works best for this recipe.

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I’ve had the best luck by, after cutting away any sinewy covering and fascia, placing my steaks in a plastic zip-lock bag to pound out on a plastic cutting board.

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The plastic bag allows the meat to flatten and lengthen without meat bits flying about.

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After pounding meat, liberally season with Salt & Pepper mixture.
3. Prepare the bread crumb mixture. Mix 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan, and Italian herbs on a paper plate. Since leftover crumbs can’t be reused, the entire paper plate can be disposed of for easy clean up.

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4. Set up a “breading station” with your paper plate of crumb mixture, a pie plate with beaten eggs, and your pounded venison steaks.
5. Dip each steak into the beaten egg and allow excess to drip off. Then dredge in the crumb mixture, patting extra into the steaks. Breaded steaks can either be returned to the cutting board or set directly into a cast iron skillet heated to medium heat with several glugs of olive oil. Allow to brown on both sides, just a few minutes

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. Then place in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over steaks leaving enough to serve with pasta. There should be enough sauce left over to serve with fettucine or other pasta of your choice.
6. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling. During the last 10 minutes of baking, follow package instructions for fettucine. When steaks are done, allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve with pasta, reserved sauce and maybe a salad. Excellent!

* Instructions for using the different muscles from the hind quarter are in my post, “Bacon-Wrapped Garlic Venison Roast”
** Tommy’s Secret Salt & Pepper Mix recipe is in my post “Game Birds, Interrupted”.

 
 

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Cornbread (and Beans?)

Cornbread (and Beans?)

Cornbread is a wonderful thing. Beans just wouldn’t be the same without it. The smell of warm cornbread harkens most Southerners back to their youth. Many refer to the beans/cornbread combination as a single entity. “Beans & Cornbread” are practically one word. So when I take bean soup (frozen, usually) out to the hunting camp, I usually plan on cornbread, also. If I’m particularly organized (not always) when planning a camping trip, I can bake up a batch of cornbread before we leave the house. Cornbread, however, is very easy to prepare out at the camp, smells great, and can’t be beat when served hot with butter. I mix all my dry ingredients at home and transport them in a large yogurt container, zip-lock bag (as in the photo), or the like. When I get to the camp, I add the liquid ingredients, toss into a heated, cast iron skillet (with bacon grease) and bake.

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As an added note, I’ve discovered that bacon drippings can be cooled and saved in small containers like an ice tray and frozen for individual uses (like cornbread). Life is good!

Preheated 425 degree oven
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted bacon drippings plus more for the skillet

DSC_0050I found this great Texas cornmeal available at a local grocer.  It worked great for my recipe, made a wonderful batch of cornbread, and it’s local!

Combine flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in cornmeal. Add eggs, milk, and bacon drippings. Mix with a whisk just til smooth. Pour into hot cast Iron skillet or dutch oven that has been coated with bacon drippings. It should sizzle a little when you pour the batter in. This ensures a nice crispy crust. I place my cast iron into the oven with just more than 1/4 cup of bacon drippings when I turn on the oven. Then the drippings are ready to be incorporated into the recipe by the time I get to that point. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2013 in camping, Recipes, Side Dishes

 

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