I am pleased to report that my venison stew was outstanding. Why? Well, you would not, if your life depended on it, know that it was venison. I've already shared my Hannibal Lechter moments of carving up the right shoulder. I marinated the stew size meat in white vinegar, water and garlic. The vinegar draws the blood out--and it's the blood that can render this stuff "gamey". I poured off the liquid, and yesterday the meat just sat in the fridge.
Today, I elected to have yet a second process having found a recipe or two that called for soaking the meat in milk/yogurt. In case you wonder about that oddity, the acid in both helps tenderize the meat. Having no yogurt, I used some sour cream and milk.
After about 4 hours (none of this is scientific), I poured off the liquid. For xmas, my SIL gave me about 6 tins of pre-mixed spices with romantic sounding names. I used the Mexican spice mix and mixed it with flour. I dredged the meat in the spiced flour and then browned it in a cast iron pan. I then added beef broth, covered it and put it in the oven until I could get back and assemble the balance of the ingredients.
Balance of ingredients: celery, carrots and onions and garlic--sauted in a large enamel pot. I added the potatoes and then poured onto it the braised venison. Back into the oven (covered of course) for the potatoes and stuff to cook. At the end, I added a can of peas, and I made dumplings (from Bisquick).
I served it with shaved Parmgeano Reggiano and a 1998 St Emillion Bordeaux. It was exquisite in every sense of the word (not to brag).
I have this great respect for cooking. When you look at the basics of cooking, it is all about survival. It is about eeking out every last nutrient from every bone and scrap. Where do you think stocks and broths come from? In early times, your survival depended on your skills of a hunter and gardener. The cook had to transform this work into food with extraordinary economy.
A cook is the ultimate alchemist.