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Monthly Archives: May 2014

All Cooked Up and Nowhere to Go?

eggs, graduation, quail, nilgai ribs 096Last week, during an unexpected (and appreciated) cool spell,  I took advantage of the opportunity to cook up fifteen pounds of Nilgai rib meat, using my “Cook-All-Day” recipe.  From meat that many hunters would toss out, I produced five delicious meals, right off the bat, and packaged up and froze several 1 ½ pound bags of succulent, cooked meat that will be used in quick meals  during the hot months of summer.

I love cool days that allow me to prepare “cook-all-day” meats.  There’s such a sense of satisfaction that comes from creating delicious meals from cuts of meat that would otherwise be considered unusable.  First of all, the whole house smells wonderful!  The Deerslayer clan has taken to just grazing from the pan of freshly cooked, fall-apart meat on that first night, with a side of rice and perhaps some peas.  The “au jus” can be drizzled over the rice as is or thickened in a cast iron skillet with a slurry of butter and flour.  That was Day One.

Day Two brought  warmed, shredded meat served with homemade flour tortillas with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, and avocado slices.  I provided a side of beans & smoked wild pork shank that had been prepared previously and frozen.

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Day Three.  I adapted my venison marsala recipe. Since the meat was already cooked, I cut it into bite-sized pieces and added it to the sauteed mushrooms and sauce, and served it over fettuccini with a side of steamed broccoli.  Done!

Day Four allowed me to pull up a family favorite from the recipe archives; Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce. Deerslayer absolutely loves these.  I served them up with the leftover beans and a side of Mexican rice.  It doesn’t get any better!

2013-02-21 094By Day Five, I feared that I was treading on thin ice by continuing to concoct recipes with the nilgai rib meat of which I was so proud, so I shredded it, tossed in some commercial BBQ sauce and served up some fabulous BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw.

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That evening, feeling content that I had once again fulfilled my role as the Deerslayer’s/Nilgai slayer’s wife, patting myself on the back, if you will, I donned a stunning pair of red pumps and pearls. I had successfully provided the clan with wild gamey goodness for an entire week with meat that might have been left for the coyotes. Then I packaged up the remainder of the cooked meat and knew that all was right with the world because the Deerslayer/Nilgaislayer household would make it through the hot months of summer without having to sacrifice any delicious wild game meals!

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Is Rib Meat Worth Saving?

Tim's Nilgui 1-18-14 008As most of my readers know, Deerslayer and I were blessed with a harvest of South Texas nilgai back in January.  Other than elk, it provided more meat than anything I’ve ever encountered.  With careful packaging (and three freezers) we were able to accommodate ALL of it.  I’ve always felt very strongly about using as much of a harvested animal as possible which is why we grind our own meat, cut our own steaks, roasts, and scrap that can be cooked all day until it falls apart into deliciousness that can be used in countless recipes.

Tim's Nilgui 1-18-14 018We’ve never bothered with venison rib meat, though.  So little meat, so much work.  With nilgai, however, it was a different matter.  Clearly, there was enough meat between the ribs that I didn’t want to waste it.  Fifteen pounds, to be exact.  Deerslayer was happy to cut the meat from the ribs so that I could package it up into three 5-lb. packages. The amount of connective tissue surrounding the muscle prevented it from being used for anything other than “cook-all-day” applications.

There is a distinct difference between venison and nilgai meat and the processing thereof.  Of course, quantity is the most obvious difference.  But we were surprised by the difference in the amount of connective tissue.  From skinning the critters to separating the muscle, nilgai is MUCH more difficult than venison because of the amount of fascia, silver skin, etc.  It just seems to adhere more than venison.  There was no pulling the skin from the muscle during field dressing.  It required cutting with a very sharp knife every inch of the way.  The preparation of backstrap has required more labor-intensive removal of fascia and silver skin, as well.  Don’t get me wrong!  The extra work involved has definitely been worth it!  The meat is delicious and worth every minute of extra labor required in prep time.

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I grabbed my labelled packages from freezer and set them out to thaw.

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Notice the large amount of silver skin on the meat.

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All fifteen pounds went into my turkey roaster, liberally seasoned with my go-to salt, pepper, garlic powder mix and into a 350 degree oven for about six hours, checking for liquid and turning the meat periodically.

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Tender, flavorful, gooey, pull-apart, melt-in-your-mouth heaven-on-earth!

 

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Where Cavemen Dwell (There is no Joy)

File:Caveman 5.jpgLet it be known that there is a disturbance in the Force at the Deerslayer abode, a tear in the fabric of our lives, if you will.  It has shaken me to my very core!  Deerslayer, much to my chagrin, has decided to make a lifestyle change.  I can tell that many of you shifting uncomfortably in your chairs, trying to decide how well you really need to know the Deerslayer Clan. To put your minds at ease, I’m referring to a culinary lifestyle change.

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For the most part, our household has become a “Paleo” palace; a place where gluten, grains, and all things worth living for no longer exist.  For those of you who are still in the dark, the Paleo Diet works off the premise that, if we eat what the cavemen ate, we will lose weight and be happier.  They didn’t harvest grains so we don’t eat pasta, bread, or things of that nature.  Nor did they eat corn, apparently, so we don’t eat tortillas.  Or anything that can be made from milk, except for butter from grass-fed cows.  Go figure. The way I look at it, the cavemen were lacking in creativity and not very enterprising in the culinary realm. Ever see a sketch of a smiling caveman?  I rest my case!

Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

It was important that I be supportive, so I ate all the pasta, potato chips, tortillas, tortilla chips, and cookies in the house so that they wouldn’t provide any unnecessary temptation.  The junior deerslayers have shown no interest in supporting the lifestyle change.  The other evening when Deerslayer went to visit some friends, there was a veritable pasta, cheese, and bread orgy the likes of which have never been seen before in this paleo cave.

Luckily, cavemen hunted.  We have three freezers full of harvested meat.  Breading will be in the form of almond and pecan meals. Gravy thickeners will come from arrowroot.  Garlic mashed potatoes?  Not in this cave!  Tears are welling up just writing about it.  Looking at it objectively, however, how could anyone NOT lose weight on this diet (excuse me, with this lifestyle shift)?

I’ve begun to read up on the topic, though.  I’ve had some success with some recipes and continue looking for others.  This is a journey that I will take with my Deerslayer.  I will grumble and pout along the way.  And I will share.

If any of you know of good Paleo cookbooks or recipes, please share.  I’m not yet a team player.

By the way, Happy Mothers’ Day!

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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