By SIMON WEBSTER
Tonight I was driving down ACR 404 around sunset and several deer went running across the road. They are awfully bold right now and should start thinking about places to hide because in a few weeks deer season starts and, sorry to say, these guys are fair game.
All of my deer hunter friends are primed and ready to go — counting down to opening day. This recipe is going to entice them even further.
If you have some deer meat in your freezer from last season, specifically backstrap, you can give it a try, but it tastes best with fresh meat.
The meat shown in the photo was from a deer that was shot on my property last year. It was processed quickly so the meat was fresh and we chose not to grind all of the meat. I think it is a shame that many hunters have the entire deer turned into ground meat and do not take advantage of some of the more tender and flavorful cuts of meat — like the backstrap.
Venison does not need to be gamey. Much of that flavor can be attributed to the amount of time that is spent between when the animal is killed and the carcass is chilled to below 40 degrees. The quicker it is chilled the better the flavor.
So hunters take note — when you get ready to shoot your first deer this season make plans to reserve the backstrap to cook just as you would a steak.
For this recipe I used the fresh back strap which I took off the bone and cooked with a mix of berries and a red wine reduction. Once that’s done just serve with your favorite side and you will have a meal to be proud of.
GRILLED VENISON BACKSTRAP WITH WILD BERRIES & MUSHROOMS
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced wild mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup cream
1 cup mixed berries
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper
Season backstrap with salt and pepper and grill to medium rare. In a sauté pan melt butter. Add mushrooms and sauté until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and reduce slightly. Add cream, berries and sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Serve sauce over the grilled backstrap.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.