Venison Steak – Back to Basics

I am approaching the last of the venison from my first deer, taken last season.  With just a few packages of chops, a couple packages of burger, and two steaks left, I am trying to make the most of it.  With all the of possible recipes floating around in my head, I found it hard to decide what to do next.  Thankfully the time constraints of a busy life have forced me to make the practical decision and I settled on something that can easily  prepared on a weeknight.   Which recipe won out in the end?  The answer is a classic pan seared steak, paired with home fries and braised spinach.  Maybe just a few wild blackberries added for a garnish and give the dish an extra  wild element to the dish. Venison steak embodies the flavour of the venison at its most basic level.  No frills, no gimics.  Just pure, honest to goodness venny taste.   You will need: Venison steaks (back strap, hind or front quarter steaks, or even tenderloin if you so choose)

  • Montreal Steak Spice
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper,
  • Spinach
  • Garlic cloves
  • Oil or Butter

The recipe begins with trimming off the excess fat from the steaks and by coating them in the Montreal steak spice. The steak spice is optional, and can be substituted for salt and pepper. I like to dry my venison with a paper towel and let it rest in the spices for a few minutes prior to cooking.  Drying is key to an even cooking throughout and a good brown on the exterior while maintaining a medium to medium rare coking.

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While the venison is drying I cubed the potatoes (the skin can be left on if desired).  Just like venison, you will get a better cooking and a crispier exterior if you dry the potatoes in a towel or paper towel.  Coat the potatoes in salt pepper or any other favourite homefry spice.  As an alternative, I like to use a dry rub meant for ribs to give them an extra kick http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rib-dry-rub-recipe.html . Another favourite is a simple Olive oil, rosemary and kosher salt coating.  Both add an extra pezazz to the potatoe. Once seasoned, the potatoes go in to an oiled pan which has been brought to medium heat.  They are fried until golden brown and to the point where the potatoes can be easily penetrated with a fork. When the potatoes are nearly done, I heat up a separate pan to medium heat and add oil or butter.  Following that I add the steaks and cook to the appropriate cooking.  A couple tips:

1) venison retains a much better consistency at a medium or medium rare cooking.  Any more and it can become tough. Try this tip for gauging cooking http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/the_finger_test_to_check_the_doneness_of_meat/

2) try to minimize the number of times you flip the steaks.  The steaks always seem to retain their moisture better when you limit it to one or two flips.

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The last component of the meal was braised spinach.  I melted a bit of butter in a pan and added some minced garlic. Once soft, I add the spinach and a splash of lemon juice to the pan.  Cover and cook until soft.  Remember, the spinach will cook a bit even after removed from the heat so avoid the initial over cooking. DSC_0259DSC_0262 Extravagant meals may be great when time allows, but if your like me, your busy lifestyle demands a more practical approach throughout the week.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice quality or taste, or the use of venison for that matter.  A quick pan seared venison steak fits the bill on all accounts and still allows for fancier interpretations if desired.

Cheers from my Kitchen

Albert

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