Preparation is Key for that Perfect Venison Stew
Although you can find a gazillion recipes all across the Internet on how to prepare the best of the best venison stew (i.e., there are 25+ best ideas located on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/explore/venison-stew/), what most people don’t realize is that when it comes to venison, the only way to create a delicious stew that takes out the ‘gamey’ taste of the venison and makes the meat tender and delicious begins with the preparation of the meat. And that preparation actually begins in the field, itself. If things aren’t done correctly at the very beginning of it all, no stew is going to taste good.
From the second that kill is made, a plan should already be in place as to getting the deer dressed. By doing this you will remove any possibility of tainting the meat, so when you arrive at your processor’s door there will be a walk-in cooler set at the perfect temp (34 to 37 degrees/with 88 percent humidity) to age your deer meat correctly. (*If not using a processor and are going to be more than a few hours before processing the meat, quarter the deer and get the deer on ice ASAP.)
Aging the deer is, above all, the most important step to achieving tender meat. In addition, there are two methods to aging meat: dry aging and wet aging, so make sure to research and then pick the one that best suits your individual needs. If you have not aged your venison, you can also place the unpackaged venison on a cooling rack on your own kitchen counter and point a fan directly at it for about a half hour. By doing this, your meat will brown easier and the venison will be far more tender.
It is important to note that aged venison is not gamey. It, like any other meat, simply has its own flavor. Deer forage for food, taking in everything from grass to herbs to berries to nuts, which means that it only requires a simple amount of seasoning in order to enhance that flavor. From the tenderloin to the backstrap of the deer – salt, pepper and olive oil are an easy trio that will bring about an excellent taste.
The right way of cooking venison is to make sure that it is not overcooked. If overcooking occurs, the meat will chew like rubber, so it’s important to know that venison cooks faster than beef. Therefore, when cooking rare, it only needs to reach a temp of 130 degrees. If any higher, the venison will begin to grow tough.
A cooking technique that many absolutely love is braising, in which the main ingredient is seared and then seared in liquid on low heat in a pot. Slow-cookers and Dutch ovens are the main choices when it comes to making perfect venison stew – by cooking low and slow. But always make sure to match the cut of meat to the cooking method. What that means is you will want to use the correct method in order to produce the tenderest meat possible. While some cuts will naturally be tender (loins and tenderloin, for instance), other cuts will be extremely tough and stringy. When it comes to that low-and-slow method for stews and soups, the shoulders, shanks and neck should be braised.
Using that perfect dry rub or marinade will also tenderize your meat, allowing you to cook the tough cuts to infuse flavor and create a tender, juicy result. When thinking about a dry rub to use, think about the endless combinations of dry herbs and spices that can be put together. Then massage the meat with the rub, place into a glass container, and refrigerate overnight for 24 hours to let that rub truly sink in to the meat.
One of the easiest recipes to use when creating that unforgettable venison stew is to heat oil in a Dutch oven. Brown the meat (that was perfectly prepared at the very beginning), and then add onions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, pepper and water. Add in your potatoes and carrots and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender (approximately 30-45 minutes). Mix flour and cold water, place into the stew, and then cook and stir until thick and bubbly.
Then all you have left to do is enjoy!
For more information, you can head to a list of websites that offer all different varieties of truly unforgettable venison stews. In fact, check out ‘Taste of Home’ at www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/venison-stew) and begin drooling now!
Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle