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Interlude Two – Roast Bambi with Cabernet

August 26, 2007

Another quick interlude in the vacation posts because . . . well, because it was tasty!

One of SWMBO’s brothers is a really dedicated deer hunter who, unlike me, has not discovered you can buy steaks at the butcher shop. Instead, he thrashes around for miles going into in the woods, climbing over hill and dale to find a spot to sit in the freezing cold in the rare hope of seeing a deer at which to take a shot — all of which is much harder than stopping by the butcher shop for a couple of T-Bones or Porterhouse steaks. Well, okay, I lied a bit. Actually he rides a four-wheeler into the woods to a heated “hunt house” where he sits back in a comfortable chair waiting for a deer to happen by. But still, I think the butcher shop is easier.

In any case, he does hunt often and a couple of years ago gave us several packages of frozen meat. One package was a tenderloin which we quickly scarf’ed up, but there was also four big packages of bone-in shoulders — or at least I assume they were either a front or back shoulder (haunch? — there may be some other name it goes by for all I know). The tenderloin I sliced and fried and had with biscuits & gravy and it was fantastic. This other, though, I didn’t really have any idea how to go about cooking. Hey, that didn’t stop me from trying. Shortly after we got it I decided to take a shot with one of the packages, but after thawing it out I realized it wouldn’t fit any of the pans we had. The fix was a tad bit of home-style butchery with a (new, washed) hacksaw, cutting it to a pan-fitting size. I don’t even remember now what I did to cook it, I just remember the hacksaw butchery was somewhat of a pain to get done. Thank God I’m not a serial killer; I’d confess rather than hack up an entire body.

Fast forward to now, when I’ve decided we are at the point of needing to defrost the (nearly fifty year old) deep freezer we have. I’m not going to throw away the venison because 1) it was a gift and you just don’t do that, 2) I generally like venison, and 3) I’m too cheap to throw away perfectly good food. But a new opportunity was at hand with a large cast iron pan I bought awhile back. It’s a fairly large pan and I thought (correctly) it would hold the entire shoulder. I figured I could cook it in the oven and then pull the meat and make a stew with it. As with most of my culinary attempts, I played this one by ear and, as with most, I ended up with something quite tasty (yeah, I’m braggin’).

First I stuck the pan across two eyes and sautéed some onions and garlic in olive oil. I then seared the shoulder on both sides. After this, I poured in a can of Guinness draft beer and put it in the oven at 250 F for six hours. The plan was to use the pulled meat and juices in the pan to make a stew but when I pulled the meat off it was so tasty (had to sample) instead I put the meat into a 9 X 9 dish, saved the juices, melted a tablespoon of Crisco in the cast-iron pan to brown some flour, then deglazed with the reserved juices (adding enough water to get the gravy the consistency I wanted). Some mashed potatoes and peas, and an inexpensive McWilliams Hardwood Estates Australian Cabernet made for a very nice meal. SWMBO and both Number One Daughter and Number One Son, as well as Boyfriend (of Number One Daughter, not SWMBO or Number One Son (or me)) loved it as well. The pictures are of the meat and of the pan while making the gravy. Both are clickable for a larger picture.

So, next post will be vacation day number three (unless it’s not) but given how tasty this meal was I just had to share. Thanks, BIL, for the deer meat. I’ll be cooking the other packages of venison soon, and once the freezer is empty (there is other stuff in there as well) it will be defrosted. At that time, BIL, you are welcome to load me back up! I promise it won’t take as long for them to get used this time around.

From → Cooking

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