We’re never too big on Cream of Mushroom as a go-to for venison dishes, often seeing hunter-chefs resort to some worn out recipe that’s just not good.
If you don’t have any venison just yet, try out Scott Leysath’s recipe with beef. (Photo courtesy of The Beef Checkoff – wwwBeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)
“Prepare venison, put into slow cooker with giant can of Cream of Mushroom and favorite herbs, cook the snot out of it and then eat it with a spoon. Yum!”
Blech. Might as well eat lumpy paste from some third grader’s art box. And yet it happens. It’s similar to the Italian Dressing recipes or the bacon-jalop-cream cheese poppers that every deer hunting lad in Texas learns to make right after learning “Hook ‘em, Horns!” There are a few exceptions with good outcomes but often, many of the results are bland, boring and blech.
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Try this recipe from Scott Leysath, where he incorporates a mushroom cream sauce — which is not Cream of Mushroom in a can — and says this is “great over warm pasta or served with a mound of garlic mashed potatoes.”
Venison with Vodka and Mushroom Cream Sauce
2 cups venison from hindquarter, loin or tenderloin, cut across the grain into 1/4-inch thick strips
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
2/3 cup vodka
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
pinch or two red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato, chopped and drained
1. Heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Remove pan from heat and stir in vodka. CAUTION! Any alcohol may ignite when added to a hot pan or when placed near an open flame. Carefully stir in vodka away from the stove, your face or the kitchen curtains.
2. Add rosemary and pepper flakes and simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons. Add heavy cream, stir, increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until sauce is smooth and creamy. Stir in tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
3. Season venison with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-hot skillet. Add venison and stir-fry until lightly browned.
4. To serve, arrange on plates, preferably on pasta, mashed potatoes, cheesy grits or polenta and spoon sauce over.
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