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Why Sous Vide is Perfect for the Hunting Camp

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Wanna be the favorite person at the hunting camp? Grab these few items and you’re all set to whip up some amazing meals with little effort!

Imagine….. autumn has arrived and it’s time to head out to the hunting camp. There’s so much to do! There are feeders to fill, game cameras to check, brush to cut. With all the work to be done, often supper gets “put on the back burner”. Get it? The guys will likely just heat a can of Ranch Style Beans. Ick.

This is where The Deer Slayer’s Wife can step up with something amazing and wow everyone at camp. If your hunting camp has a power hook up, you can use a sous vide cooker. It’s truly effortless. It also frees you up to help out with other chores associated with getting ready for deer season.

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Throw these things together:  any stock or soup pot at least 6 inches deep, some vacuum seal bags and a hand pump (you can actually use plain zipper bags in a pinch),  some cooking twine (in case you want to prepare a football roast).  It’s not in the picture but I ALWAYS bring my Salt-Pepper-Garlic Powder mix.  I put it on everything.

You’ll need a pot at least 6 inches deep for this particular sous vide cooker.  When it’s just going to be Deerslayer and me, I take the small 6″ pot.  If I’m going to be preparing a larger cut of meat for more people, I use a larger pot.  Ah, the freedom to choose!20180717_153943-265839914.jpg Then grab some frozen venison from the reserves you have in your freezer, a little olive oil, and maybe some fresh or dried herbs, and head for the hunting camp. You can use backstrap, tenderloin, football roast or other individual muscles from the hind quarter previously thought to be too tough to serve medium rare as a steak.

On the day you want to have the venison, take a break from the hunting chores and get things rolling mid-afternoon. See if the meat’s still frozen.  If it is, no worries!  Fill the pot with clean drinking water or distilled water within about 2-3 inches from the top of the pot.  On my sous vide cooker, there is a water level indicator that lets me know how much water I need. Next, attach the cooker to the side of the pot and plug it in.  Set the temperature at 131 degrees and let the water start heating up.

While the water’s heating, remove the frozen or semi-frozen meat from its bag, very liberally season it with salt, pepper, and garlic mix.  Place the meat in a fresh vacuum seal bag.  Add some fresh or dried herbs (maybe rosemary, thyme, oregano), some fresh garlic if you want, and a drizzle of olive oil.  You may have figured out by this point that there’s no real right or wrong way to do this part.  Then seal the bag and remove as much of the air as possible so the meat stays completely submerged in the water.  I usually attach the plastic bag to the side of the pot with a wooden clothespin.

Now, you’re ready to place the meat in the water bath.  I clip mine to the side of the pot with a clothespin.  You can set the timer for about 3 hours if the meat is frozen or 1 1/2 hours if it is thawed.  Once the water has reached 131 degrees, the timer will begin ticking away.

This is where the magic starts! Because the water is not boiling, you can go about your business until the meat is ready. If you aren’t back from your chores when the meat is done, no problem.  The water will keep it at the perfect temperature for up to a couple of hours.  After that, the texture of the meat will be affected somewhat.

Once the your venison is ready, remove it from the bag and place it on a cutting board. Pat it dry while you heat a skillet pretty hot with some butter or olive oil so you can sear your meat.  20180908_194040-1512771251.jpg

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I served this roast with horseradish sauce, some wilted spinach, onion, and bacon and also some garlic mashed potatoes.  Pretty amazing for the hunting camp.

Do some research about how to use the cooker and the wealth of wild game recipes!  There’s so much information about the Sous Vide method on the internet.  I got my first recipe from my nephew (venison football roast) and then found other recipes for wild game online.  Anova (the brand of my cooker) has LOTS of information.  Conor Bofin’s One Man’s Meat has become my go-to for sous vide information, outstanding game recipes, and witty stories.  His photography is a feast for the eyes, as well.

Hank Shaw’s Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook is another great resource.  Hank is an inspiration with his wealth of recipes, foraging tidbits, and hunting stories.  He also uses the sous vide method for many of his recipes.

Hunting season is upon us!  Grab your pot full of cooking magic, do a little research, and put on your hunting camp tiara because you are gonna be the camp queen!  Oh, don’t forget a bottle of wine for your highness!

 

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Ahhhh! Autumn!

marmalade, grinding meat, empanadas, 2014-2-16 040I love autumn.  It’s always been my favorite time of year.  I love the colors of fall.  The oranges, browns, yellows.  In South Texas, temperatures dip below the century mark and the humidity drops as the winds begin to trickle in from the north.  I always bring out my sweaters and boots.  When the thermometer heads south of 80 degrees, I’m there with turtlenecks and snuggly socks.  My favorite part of autumn, however, has always been having an excuse to cook up soups, breads, and anything made out of pumpkin.  Pumpkins make me happy.  I’ve accumulated an impressive  collection of sweet and savory recipes that feature my beloved squash.

The first day of fall is just around the corner.  However, I told my girls that once Labor Day has passed, we will no longer wear white shoes and we will begin eating pumpkin! We have already savored the cinnamony wonders of pumpkin waffles, pumpkin creme brulee, pumpkin empanadas and pumpkin soup.  You see, we are dipping into our coveted reserves that were painstakingly roasted and frozen in 2 cup amounts from last year’s bounty.  Pumpkins are part of my decor from the first of September until after Thanksgiving…… quite a bit after Thanksgiving if you must know.  Pumpkins can be kept until February or mid-March.  Don’t ask me how I know!  They are so easy to roast and freeze, there’s really no good reason to buy the canned stuff.

I’m gonna share a couple of my favorite pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Empanadas

makes 48

16 oz. cooked mashed pumpkin

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tbsp dark rum (optional, but why not!)

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 packages, rolled pie crust dough (2 crusts per box)

1 egg (beaten) or half and half

turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, butter, rum and spices in a blender

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.  Divide each pastry crust into 6ths (in half, then in 3rds).

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 Roll each portion into a ball and flatten into a small circle, about 4 inches in diameter.

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Press against the pie plate to flatten the dough. The dough will stick to the pie plate but will peel off easily.

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 Spoon 2 tbsp. of the pumpkin filling into the center of the circle.

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Fold to form a turnover and seal the edges with the tines of a fork.

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 Cut vent in top to allow steam to escape.  Brush with beaten egg or cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake empanadas on a greased baking sheet (or use a Silpat).  Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.  Cool on wire racks.

Elegant Creamy Pumpkin Soup

1/2 onion, chopped                                                1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 carrots, chopped                                                 2 tsp. brown sugar
2 stalks celery, chopped                                        1 1/2 tsp. salt
olive oil                                                                  1/4 tsp. black pepper
32 oz. chicken stock                                              1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked pumpkin                                         1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                                                 sour cream, salted pepitas

 In a large soup pot, saute onion, carrots, celery in olive oil until tender. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until veggies are tender. Add pumpkin and spices. Puree with immersion blender. Continue to simmer for a few minutes. Add whipping cream. Stir. Complement with sour cream and pepitas.
Serves 6-8
 

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Serves 6

2 cups low-fat milk

1/2 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin

1/2 cup brown sugar (plus extra for caramelizing)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and spices.  I use a blender so the pumpkin is smooth and I can just pour directly into 6 dessert cups  Place in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan so water is halfway up the cups.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  Remove from the baking pan and let cool.  Chill for 4 to 24 hours.  Sprinkle each with a spoonful of brown sugar.  This is where it gets fun!  If you have a culinary torch, then torch the sugar until it bubbles.  This can also be accomplished under the broiler.  Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn!  Nothing is better than breaking through that delicious crust of caramelized sugar to reveal the cool spicy layers of pumpkiny goodness.  The custard should create several different layers.  It’s all good!

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

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