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!
For the sauce:
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
16 oz. dried fettucine
for the steaks:
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.
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.
The plastic bag allows the meat to flatten and lengthen without meat bits flying about.
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.
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
. 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”.