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Category Archives: Nilgai

Wild Pork Green Chile Stew

DSC_0043One of my biggest missions in writing this blog has been to share with hunters that no wild game meat should ever be wasted.  Cook-all-day venison, elk, nilgai, or pork uses the tough and sinewy bits that most hunters either grind up or just toss out.

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Every year, I cook up about 20-40 lbs. of shank, shoulder, neck, and rib meat that I bag up in one-pound, carefully labeled packages. I also pour the rich, priceless meat broth into bags or jars to use in recipes.  This liquid is like gold to a recipe.  You have to pay top dollar for this stuff in gourmet food shops.  I use my packages of cooked meat and homemade broths in an ever-increasing number of fast, easy, satisfying, and healthy recipes.

Here is one more recipe that can be prepared in a pinch, like on a Monday evening when it’s just too damned hard to get your act together.  Or when it’s cold out and you discover that you’re gonna have a few extra people for dinner (an hour before they’re scheduled to arrive).  With little effort, you can thaw out a package of cook-all-day pork, grab some of this miracle in a jar and a few other ingredients, don your super-hero cape and impress the hell out of your appreciative family.  Go for it!

 

Cookwell & Company’s Green Chile Stew is readily available at a Texas grocer, HEB. It can also be purchased online.  Its bold flavor and chunky texture compliment the mild flavor of my cook-all-day wild pork.  I purchase several jars when they go on sale to keep in the pantry.  If we ever move into an area that doesn’t have an HEB, I’ll order it by the case.

Wild Pork Green Chile Stew

1 lb. cooked-all-day wild pork, chopped (Fatty bits make it even better!)

1 jar of Cookwell & Company’s Green Chile Stew, 32 oz.

1cup of cooking broth from the meat or stock depending how soupy you want it

1 ear of roasted corn kernels (or 3/4 cup canned corn, drained)

1 tsp. comino (cumin)

a plop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for the top, if ya want

grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, cilantro or whatever you like as a garnish

1.In a dutch oven, combine pork, contents of jar, cooking juices or stock. and comino.

2.If using roasted corn, cut it from the cob and add to stew and simmer.  Or add canned corn. Canned corn can be spread out on a cookie sheet and roasted under the broiler, as well. Just toss it around a bit as it browns.  Before using in a recipe, remove any kernels that might have burned.

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3.Heat through.

4.Add a plop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.  Add a sprinkling of grated cheese.  Serve with crusty bread.

Tuh Duh!  Too easy not to love!

 

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Corned Nilgai

DSC_0311I was so excited when I read Hank Shaw’s post on Corned Venison!  I’m a huge fan of corned beef and a big fan of Hank Shaw, as well.  There are few things better than a corned beef sandwich on rye bread (except perhaps corned venison or corned nilgai) served up like a reuben with saurkraut and beer mustard.

Hank did a very thorough (and beautifully photographed) job of describing the process of making corned venison so I didn’t bother putting my own spin on it except that, this most recent time, I used half of a nilgai roast instead of venison and I threw in a deer heart just to see  how it would turn out. (Really well!)  I’ve prepared the recipe three times now.  The first two times, I used venison football roasts. The recipe turned out great.  Flavorful and tender.

The Instacure I ordered from Amazon Prime.  I followed Hank’s directions to a “t” except that I used brown sugar rather than white for the brine.  I just like brown sugar better as a general rule.  My biggest challenge came when I was looking for a container to place my meat in while it brined.  I settled on a plastic cylindrical container that 4 lbs. of potato salad came in. It sealed nicely and was just the right size for a 1/2 nilgai roast plus a deer heart (just cuz) and could be slid into the back of the fridge.  The same container (after it was thoroughly cleaned) was perfect for storing the cooked meat which needs to be kept in the cooking liquid so it doesn’t dry out.

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Nilgai is pretty dense, sinewy meat so I punctured it pretty liberally so that the brine could penetrate all the way through.  For the heart, I just cut off about the top ½ inch, rinsed it out well and tossed it into the brine with the other meat.

Our favorite way to eat the corned meat is on a sandwich which has been toasted, panini-style, with my George Foreman Grill. I find the best rye bread that is available in the Rio Grande Valley, slather it with beer mustard, a slice of swiss cheese, and some saurkraut.  I spray the outside of the sandwich with olive oil cooking spray and grill it on the ol’ George Foreman.  The same effect could be accomplished with an actual panini press or in a cast iron skillet.  The result is crisply toasted bread, melty cheese, and fabulous corned meat that I prepared myself for my Deerslayer Clan!

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Promise me that you’ll try it!

 
 

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Spicy Marinara Venison Burgers

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The other day, a wine-induced conversation ensued in the Deerslayer household regarding the best of all culinary goodness . Is pasta better than pizza?  Is seared venison tenderloin superior to chicken-fried venison steak? In our family, I have to admit that pasta, cheese, bread, and garlic topped the list since junior deerslayers were voting as well (only one is old enough to partake in the wine, however). Of course, because we are a deerslayer household, wild game made it into the top 10.

One of the daughters makes a killer spicy marinara that is a favorite addition to pasta and wild game alike. With that in mind, a little brainstorming resulted in the following recipe. Beautifully seasoned venison, sliced mozzarella, fabulously flavorful marinara, crusty ciabatta, and peppery arugula came together to create the perfect combination of flavors, the consummate burger.

Spicy Marinara Venison Burgers

(1 lb. of ground meat makes about 3 burgers)

The Sauce

Balsamic glaze is a good way to add intense flavor without adding too much liquid. Balsamic vinegar can be used but you might need to simmer for a few extra minutes.

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

1  28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

¼ red wine

a blop of balsamic glaze (about a tbsp) (I used balsamic glaze because that’s what I had.  Balsamic vinegar will be fine, too)

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

In a high-sided cast iron skillet, saute′ finely chopped onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes.  Add cayenne, white pepper, and oregano.  Stir around to let the olive oil work its magic on the spices.  Add garlic and continue to stir for about a minute.  Don’t let the garlic brown.

Add tomatoes, wine, balsamic glaze or vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer while you assemble the burgers.

The Burger

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1 lb. ground venison (or elk, nilgai, or wild pork)

2 tbsp. chopped garlic

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 egg

1 tsp.dried oregano, crushed in your palms

fresh mozzarella, sliced, brought to room temperature

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Combine all ingredients expect mozzarella in a bowl.

Each burger will require two very thin patties of the same size. Place mozzarella on one patty. Leave room around the edge to seal shut.

Making the meat patties on plastic wrap allows me to shape and move them around easily.

Place one meat patty atop the other.

Press around the edges to seal the mozzarella inside.

The cooking method you use to prepare the meat is up to you. The burgers can be grilled or cooked in a hot skillet or griddle.  Because the meat is so lean, be sure to use a little oil to prevent the patties from sticking to the cooking surface.  I used a hot cast iron skillet, being sure to allow meat to sear, then lowering the heat enough to make sure that they heat through and melt the cheese.

Assembling the Burgers

Ciabatta Rolls

Olive oil

Cooked Meat Patties

Spicy Marinara

Arugula

Thinly sliced red onion (optional)

Drizzle olive oil on split ciabatta rolls. Toast under the broiler or on the grill for a few minutes.

Assemble burgers on a bed of arugula placed atop the toasted ciabatta. Liberally spread spicy marinara over the meat. top with thinly sliced onion, if desired.

 

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Venison Pierogi

pierogi 034Delicious little pasta pillows filled with spiced meaty goodness.  It’s the best description I can think of for the Polish dish called pierogi.  Little Polish ravioli!  There are several traditional recipes that include fillings like saurkraut or potato/garlic.  Both are out of this world.  However, the magic comes from the pasta that is made perfect with the addition of sour cream, rolled incredibly thin, enveloping a flavorful filling.  For the sake of my readers, I’ve used some traditional Polish spices with some ground venison to create my own version of this traditional favorite.

Venison Filling

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I neglected to include the ground venison in the photo. You’ll have to use your imagination.

  • 2 tsp. toasted caraway seeds
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 lb. ground venison/nilgai
  • 1-2 tbsp. flour

Toast caraway seeds in a cast iron skillet.

Melt butter in the skillet.  Saute onion. Add caraway seeds and remaining seasonings and spices, except venison and flour.

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Stir until onions are transluscent. Add meat and cook until meat is browned and flavors are incorporated. Because venison (or nilgai) is being used, there will be no rendered fat to pour off, just lots of water.

Turn down heat and allow most of the liquid to evaporate.  (Pouring off the extra liquid will waste a lot of the flavor.)

Sprinkle flour over the meat and mix in.

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Dough

  • 3 egg
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 3 cups flour (plus more to add if too sticky)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer.

Mix until dough forms.

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Flatten dough into a large disk. Cut into strips that can be rolled by hand or run through the pasta maker. To roll the dough out thin enough, I used my pasta maker.  It produced a uniform thickness that worked really well with the round cutter.

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The sour cream makes the dough very sticky. Keep it well floured as you work.

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There are lovely, expensive cutters available on the market. This canning lid works really well, though.

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Use a scant tbsp. of filling in each circle.

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Brush water around the edges of the circle so that the pasta will adhere to itself. You may notice that the filling in this photo is potato rather than meat. Ooops.

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Fold the edges over and press together.

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Use a fork to seal the edges (and make the pierogi pretty)!

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Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Be sure to add at least 2 tbsp. of salt.

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Add pierogi, a few at a time, to the boiling water with a spider or slotted spoon. Once they begin to float for a couple of minutes, they are ready to take out and enjoy.

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9 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Nilgai, Recipes, Side Dishes, Venison

 

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Making Stock

stock 003I love to cook.  I’m guessing that anyone who reads these posts does, too.  It’s important to me to use the wild game that my Deerslayer fills our freezer with… and to use as much of the animal as possible.

I’m not sure why it took so long for me to start making my own stock.  There’s no denying that it enhances the flavor of many dishes and can’t be beat in soups and stews. I’ve made chicken and turkey stock for years but I simply never made the leap of faith to use the meaty bones of venison and nilgai to create my own integral basis for so many recipes.  It’s actually right up my alley.  No waste! Use all usable parts! Feed my family with the healthiest possible foods! Be cheap! Boxed stocks cost $2 a box or more and I go through quite a bit in my cooking.

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The yellow onion skins impart a rich golden color to the stock.

Once I embraced the “be cheap, do good” mindset (and had some awesome bones in the freezer), I took it one step further.  Every time I chopped veggies (carrots, celery, garlic, onions), I saved the scrappy ends and skins in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag in the freezer until it was full.

Now, when I’m ready to make a batch of stock, I grab the large venison or nilgai bones (cut into a length that will fit into my stockpot and can be covered with water) and my bag of veggies from the freezer, some spices, and some good, filtered water.  In addition, I set out a few items that make the job easier.  The stuff that I use includes: 2 stock pots (one for simmering and one to pour filtered stock into), a large slotted spoon, tongs, a collandar, some cheesecloth, a measuring cup, and canning jars (or zip-lock bags or other freezer containers)

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I neglected to photograph the other stockpot, slotted spoon, or tongs. Oops. Or jar lids.

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I put sawed, meaty bones into a stockpot. The extra meat adds more flavor. Hank Shaw, an expert in the area of wild game cookery, roasts the bones first for additional depth of flavor.  

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Add veggie bits (onion ends and skin, carrot ends, celery ends, garlic and skins) collected over time, in the freezer, to the mix.

 

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Add filtered water to cover. Toss in about 4 bay leaves and about a tbsp. of peppercorns.

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Bring to a boil and reduce heat to just more than a simmer. Cover. Let it work its magic for about 4-5 hours. Keep an eye on the water level. Add more as needed to keep things covered.

Once the stock is ready, use tongs and/or a slotted spoon to remove all bones and vegital matter.  At this point, line the collander with several layers of cheese cloth and strain the stock into the second stockpot.

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Depending on how clear you want your stock (I’m not a real stickler on this point), it can be strained a couple of times.

Decide how quickly you think you will be using your stock.  I pour some up into canning jars that will placed in the fridge be used within a couple of weeks.  The remainder is poured (in 2 cup measures) into freezer-safe containers or freezer bags that are then laid out on cookie sheets in freezer for easy stacking later.

 

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Wild Game Osso Buco (Means “I Love You!”)

cutco, pot pie, osso buco 017Deerslayer had a delicious meal in Vail a while ago that he was excited for me to research and try to replicate.  He was so enthusiastic (and cute) that I couldn’t  say, “no”.   The dish was Osso Buco (which means bone with a hole) and is traditionally made with cross-cut veal shank that is then braised in a savory mix of veggies, tomatoes, and wine. If a hunter decides to prepare this recipe with wild game, keep in mind that venison shanks are pretty puny for this particular application.  The shanks need to be decently large and meaty like might be found on an elk, bear, wild pig, moose, or NILGAI!

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This photo shows very clearly the sinewy layers that seem to run through the muscle of nilgai meat. Not just shank but other muscle cuts as well!

Since we don’t purchase meat from a grocer, how fortuitous that we recently acquired some very nice nilgai shanks as part of the reward of  a successful hunt.  As I began to scour the blog world for wild game versions of this recipe, I found posts dealing with bear, moose, and elk. I was thrilled to stumble across Hank Shaw’s Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook. There’s some pretty powerful stuff in the wild game cookery department on his website.  I’m pretty sure I’ve found my new wild game cooking bible.  His books are definitely on my birthday wish list!  I ultimately ended up preparing a version of his recipe.

Deerslayer and I also needed info on the best way to cut the shanks so that we’d end up with the clean cross-cut slabs.  We wanted them to be about 2 to 2½ inch sections. The meat was slippery and difficult to hold on the cutting board because of the fascia (silverskin).

Of course, having the proper tools for the job makes everything much easier.  Since we didn’t have a butcher’s meat band saw, we tackled the problem by wrapping both ends of the semi-frozen shank with clean kitchen towels on either side of the cutting line.  Laying the towel-wrapped shank on the cutting board, (and having me hold one end) Deerslayer was able to use an LEM hand-operated meat  saw without the meat sliding all over.  We ended up with 4 servings per shank.

Wild Game Osso Buco

*This recipe is for about 4 large shank servings or 5 small ones.  We went crazy and prepared two whole shanks (8 servings or 2 large dutch ovens’ worth!)

1 large wild game shank (about 4 servings, cut into 2-2½ cross slices) one per person

cooking twine, to tie shanks

salt and pepper

flour for dredging

olive oil, cooking oil, or butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

around 2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced (or others that you like)

1 cup of white wine

1 cup stock (beef, chicken, game—– I used nilgai stock)

1 tsp. thyme, fresh or dried

1tsp. oregano, fresh or dried

2 bay leaves

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

chopped parsley for garnish

Cooking time is about 3 hours depending on the size of the shanks and amount of sinew.  The nilgai took every bit of the 3 hours.

Tie up the shanks so the meat doesn’t fall off the bone during cooking.  It provides a nicer presentation.

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Preheat the oven for 300°.

Liberally salt and pepper meat.  Dredge in flour..

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Add oil to a cast iron dutch oven and heat.  Brown meat on all sides and remove from heat.

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After I took this picture, I gave the meat some more time so there would be a nicer brown on it.

 

Add carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper. Saute until beginning to brown.

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Add wine, stock, tomatoes, spices, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Stir up browned bits from the bottom.

Add meat back into dutch oven.  Cover with sauce.  Reduce to a simmer.

Place a lid on the pot and put the whole thing in the oven for about 3 hours.

Check after a couple of hours to see if meat is getting tender.

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Serve over risotto, polenta, orzo or other worthy bed.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Tell your Deerslayer-Nilgaislayer-Elkslayer, “Osso buco, darling!”

This would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

 

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Classic Wild Game Meat Pie

cutco, pot pie, osso buco 021There are certain times when a savory meat pie hits the spot like nothing else. I have no doubt that Sherlock Holmes would eat a delicious meat pie.   Make it with wild game (venison, elk, nilgai, wild pork) and it can’t be beat.  The ease with which this dish is prepared makes it perfect for leftover turkey, chicken, goose, or pheasant as well.  It has become my go-to recipe when I’m looking for something rich, delicious, and healthy that can be made with any leftover meat (or cooked-all-day game), veggies and a yummy crust.

This picture does not include potatoes or pie crust. Oops! The bowl of small, red orbs is actually pearl onions. Use ’em or don’t as you like.

1 1/2 lbs. Cooked-all-day wild game (venison, elk, nilgai, wild pork or leftover turkey, goose, pheasant, or chicken) cubed

4 tbsp. butter
Splash of olive oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms (or more…. or none) sliced

Tommy’s salt & pepper mix

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 small red potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup canned or frozen peas

32 oz. box of beef, chicken. or veggie stock or homemade stock

6 oz. Guinness beer (Drink the rest!)

3 tbsp. cornstarch

Kosher salt, fresh-ground pepper

1-2 tbs. worcestershire sauce

2 cups any awesome cheddar, grated

one prepared pie crust (or one  homemade crust)

In heavy cast iron skillet, saute mushrooms in butter & olive oil. Season with Tommy’s salt & pepper mix.

In another sauce pan, bring stock to a boil. Add carrots, celery, and fresh, peeled pearl onions (or frozen). Cook until tender. Add potatoes.  Cook for another ten minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer veggies to skillet with mushrooms.

                                                                                    Toss in peas and shredded or cubed meat. Return  stock to heat, reserving 1/2 cup. Add the 1/2 cup and cornstarch to a jar, seal and SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE.

Add Guinness and stock-cornstarch mixture to remaining beef stock. Boil on medium heat until thickened. Pour all into cast iron skillet and heat through. Season with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper.

 

 

Stir in grated, awesome cheese.

 

For days when I don’t feel like making crust from scratch, I lay a ready-made crust over the top of the ingredients.  Cut slits to let steam escape, roll the edges for a popular rustic appeal, and paint top with an egg wash.

 

cutco, pot pie, osso buco 018Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees until crust is golden.  Easy Peasy!  Once again, you have maintained your title of  “Hunting Queen/King of the Universe”.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Game Birds, Nilgai, Recipes, Venison

 

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A New Year, A New Nilgai

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Last year’s bull was pretty big. This year we were glad to get a younger animal to compare the amount of connective tissue and fascia.

The Deerslayer household has been blessed to start 2015 with our second nilgai in the freezer. It was a pretty big deal… comparable to when our daughters were born. It was a goal that Deerslayer had set for himself during this hunting season.  Mission accomplished.

Working with our first nilgai was quite a learning experience.  It was a relatively large bull that was harvested.  We assumed that the meat would be just like venison, but bigger!  We discovered that there are some real differences in the make-up of the meat and in the initial dressing of the animal as I posted here.

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Three big Yeti coolers full of meat!

Unlike venison, nilgai muscle is sometimes layered with fascia within the larger muscles themselves which is tough to chew if prepared rare to medium-rare as in grilling and searing. For this reason, fewer of the muscles are good for these applications.  A real lover of wild game won’t mind cutting around and discarding the chewy bits, though.  Luckily, the tenderloins and backstraps are HUGE and the one small, special hindquarter muscle that’s great for searing or grilling still works just fine for that.

Since this was our second nilgai, I had the presence of mind to document a few steps of the dressing process.  For hunters who haven’t skinned a nilgai, I think think they will find interesting the difference in the amount of connective tissue between nilgai and deer.

goose, nilgai, 2015 035 While this part of the process isn’t  exactly my cup of tea, I’m hoping that some of you may find it informative. It really helps having access to a pulley system like this to hoist an animal of this size to get it ready for the coolers.  Deerslayer made short order of skinning this guy using a pair of hunting knives that I got him for our anniversary.  More on that in an upcoming post.

Is was right about here in the proceedings that I remembered that something in the camper needed my immediate attention… a glass of restorative wine!  Don’t judge me.

goose, nilgai, 2015 038We spent much of New Year’s Day processing and packaging up the three coolers full of meat that would fill our freezer.  We started with backstraps and tenderloins.

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We deliberately chose to leave the fascia on the backstrap to provide added protection against freezer burn. It can easily be cleaned prior to cooking.

 

Deerslayer decided that he’d like to leave a backstrap intact and grill it for a family get-together.  We agreed that a perfectly seared backstrap with some delectable mesquite smoky flavor would impress the entire clan. I’ll get back to you on how this turns out.

In years past, while we own a vacuum-packaging system, we chose to use the Zip-Lock bags with the little sucky thing.  The process was less complicated. We’ve discovered, however, that we were getting a little freezer burn on the meat where air was getting in.  We think it was due, in part, to small dings in the bags that occurred by moving them around (and dropping them).

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This year, we dusted off the Rival vacuum system and let ‘er rip. The continuous length of bags enabled us to slide an entire backstrap in and seal it up.

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I can’t decide if I’m more like Wilma or Betty.

The hind quarter was the next “big thing” to tackle.  The muscles were huge!  This year, for the first time, I set aside the bones for making stock.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.  The femurs reminded me of the Flintstones!  Deerslayer used his meat saw to cut through the bones so they’d fit into my stock pot.  We also set aside some scrap meat to add some additional flavor.

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As Deerslayer began to separate out the muscles, we carefully set aside the muscles that we know will function like a tenderloin in searing and grilling applications.

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Notice the lighter color and finer texture of the muscle on the right. It is found on the hind quarter and is extremely tender. The piece on the left can be cut into steaks and pounded out for Nilgai Parmesan, Chicken Fried Steaks, etc.

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Here’s another picture of the very tender cut of hind quarter.

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It’s good to know not only what meat you’re taking out of the freezer but exactly what you need to do to it.y

Last year, we didn’t save the shanks. In an effort to use as much of the animal as possible we’re going to try to cut through those bones and make osso buco.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

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Cheese Enchiladas with Nilgai (or Venison) Chili Con Carne

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Let it be known, here and now, that the Deerslayer’s wife loves Tex-Mex food.  I always have and I always will. The evolution of the mix of traditional Mexican cuisine with what was available in Texas in the early days of our great state resulted in nothing short of heaven. The many variations of this particular style of cooking are as limitless as the families who have passed the recipes down and the regions from which they came.  I’ve adapted many of my favorites to work with the wild game that fills my freezer.  Thus far, I’ve shared wild game recipes for faux barbacoapicadillo, carne guisada, venison and wild pork enchiladas with creamy poblano sauce, beans with wild pork shank, and others.

cheese enchiladas 003My all-time favorite Tex-Mex recipe has to be cheese enchiladas with chili con carne, though.  The melted cheese, and, ohhhh, the chili con carne.  The rich flavor of comino (cumin) in a spicy gravy combined with carne (meat, in this case, ground) poured over sharp cheddar cheese wrapped in corn tortillas has to be what St. Peter will have waiting for me in heaven!

While I appreciate a shortcut as much as the next person, I draw the line at canned enchilada sauce.  I can always tell when it’s used at a restaurant and I promptly scratch the offending restaurant from my list of haunts.  For several years, I’d thought about adapting my carne guisada recipe to use over cheese enchiladas.  Last week I tried it and it was a huge hit, a new addition to the Deerslayer clan list of favorites.

Cheese Enchiladas with Venison or Nilgai Chili Con Carne

1 lb. ground nilgai or venison (or wild pork)

2-3 Tbsp. bacon grease (Most venison recipes require the addition of some extra grease or fat since the meat is so lean and, let’s face it, everything tastes better with bacon!)

1/2 large bell pepper, diced

1/2  onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. black pepper

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes (with or w/o chilies, like Rotel,  to taste)

2 tsp. garlic salt

½ to 1 cup water

 In a cast iron skillet, brown ground meat.  There won’t be any fat to drain off if you use venison or nilgai.  Remove browned meat from skillet.

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 Heat bacon grease in same skillet.  Saute’ onion and bell pepper in bacon drippings.  Add garlic and stir around for a minute or two.

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  Sprinkle flour over sauteed veggies and incorporate. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes, covered.

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  With an immersion blender, create a relatively smooth sauce.

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 Add ground meat back into the skillet and simmer for an additional few minutes.

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To make the cheese enchiladas:

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I like to keep it simple!

In a skillet, heat enough corn or vegetable oil to cover the bottom about ¼ inch.  You can tell the oil is hot enough when you see small ripples on the surface.  Using tongs, lightly dip a corn tortilla in the oil until soft enough to roll.  Dipping the tortillas in oil keeps them soft through the baking.

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I found these rubber-tipped tongs that don’t tear up the tortillas.

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Sprinkle a nice thick line of sharp cheddar cheese of your choice down the center of the softened tortilla.

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Roll enchiladas and arrange in a 9×13 oven-safe pan.

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Arrange, seam-side-down, to fill the pan. The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare as many or as few enchiladas as you need. At this stage, you place additional enchiladas in the freezer, in zip bags.  Pour chili con carne over enchiladas to cover and sprinkle with extra cheese.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cheese melts and chili bubbles. Add to your favorite recipes!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Nilgai, Recipes, Uncategorized, Venison

 

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Faux Barbacoa (Nilgai or Venison)

faux bbq, fawns, mary's bday, alamo, tower 054Living in South Texas is unlike anything else in the world!  There are daily experiences that one would expect  to find only in more remote regions of Mexico.  For example, dodging crates of cactus pads that have covered the street after falling from an overpacked pickup, swerving to avoid onions and pineapples littering the road, hearing the screeching of flocks of parrots long before they fly over.  More recently, the sounds of Homeland Security and Border Patrol helicopters have become commonplace. In our  part of the world, everyone samples the produce in the grocery store before they buy it (or don’t).  Cars frequently are seen heading the wrong way into oncoming traffic to avoid the necessity of making the block.

While I’d be perfectly happy to live without any of those experiences (and plenty of others), one thing that I absolutely love about South Texas is barbacoa.  Barbacoa is traditionally made from the head meat of a cow or goat, sometimes just the cheek, either buried in the ground or cooked in a pit until the meat falls away from the bone. This lengthy process is the reason that barbacoa is usually only available on weekends in many restaurants and the focal point of many family gatherings.

I have to admit, it was years before I was willing to try this dish just knowing that it was made from the head of a cow.  After being a wife and mother, I’ve experienced many disgusting things.  Beef head is no longer on the list.  Once I finally tasted it, I was in heaven.  I never realized that the most succulent, tender meat comes from the head.  The members of the Deerslayer household eat barbacoa as often as possible. (Don’t forget that my junior deerslayers are hunters and not put off by the origin of meat the way I used to be.)

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I stumbled upon this recipe quite by accident.  I needed a quick dinner and had some “cook-all-day” nilgai packaged into one-pound portions in the freezer.  It really saved the day.  I’d say it was a 30 minute meal, start to finish since I added Mexican rice, which took 20 minutes to cook, and some bean soup that I simply had to thaw and reheat, as well.

Faux Barbacoa

1 lb. “Cook-All-Day” Nilgai or Venison

Beef Stock

Comino (Cumin)

Tommy’s Salt and Pepper Mix

 

Chop and shred meat into a cast iron skillet.  Add enough beef stock to cover meat and simmer on low.  Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of comino and stir.  Season with salt and pepper mix.  Allow stock to reduce by about a third.  This is a perfect time to prepare Mexican rice. Serve with fresh corn tortillas and pico de gallo.

Sometimes the easiest recipes surprise us.  The Deerslayer clan really enjoyed the meal and it was pretty effortless thanks to a little advanced preparation at the start of the season.  Beans with wild pork shank are as easy to prepare in large quantities as it is small.  Frozen in bags and stacked in the freezer make it a great go-to.  I usually add extra beef or chicken stock since the deerslayer clan likes their been soupy.  A little garnish of fresh cilantro adds flavor and flair.

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I added some beef stock, some kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder (Tommy’s Secret Mix) and a little comino (cumin).

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I simmered the meat for about 20 minutes until some of the juices thickened.

Everyone in the family agreed that the texture and flavor of the meat was very much like barbacoa.  The rib meat has a great deal of connective tissue that, when cooked all day, breaks down into sticky, deliciousness.  While most of my readers may not have access to nilgai, venison would certainly suffice for this recipe.  Any sinewy parts like shank or rib meat would cook up the same way.

Just one more recipe for meat that most hunters throw away or grind.  Yay!

 

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