Top venison recipes for deer hunting season

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Top venison recipes for deer hunting season

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Becky Stein
150305-ATLANTA-GA- John Kessler’s restaurant review of Atlas, inside the Buckhead St. Regis, on Thursday March 5, 2015. FOOD: Pecan- grilled cervena venison chop- roasted parsnip Marrow Bone, Charred Brussels Sprouts, Barley Porridge, Plum- Cherry Puree. (www.Beckysteinphotography.com)

Oh, deer. Venison is all the rage these days. Not only has Arby's announced it would try a venison sandwich on its menu at 17 locations across the country, including one in Atlanta, but deer hunting season started in Georgia in September.

So what is venison? For the uninitiated, venison is -- and "Bambi" fans might want to stop reading now -- deer meat. It's not uncommon to see venison on restaurant menus in the fall, to coincide with hunting season. It can be eaten in various cuts and preparations -- steaks, sausages, jerky -- and tastes like a gamier version of beef.

Venison is often said to be a healthy option for meat-lovers. It has more protein than other types of red meat, high levels of iron and vitamin B and has a small amount of fat, according to food writer and chef Rosie Sykes.

If you're looking to try cooking venison on your own -- if you're not a hunter, you can purchase some at Sprouts Farmers Market locations  -- here are a few recipes to get you started: 

Venison and black bean chili

Atlanta restaurant Seasons 52 offers a dish of beef and black bean chili. Beef can be substituted with deer meat to make venison chili. Handout/Jimmy DeFlippo

This recipe from Seasons 52 substitutes venison for beef. While many chili recipes are cooked on top of the stove, this recipe calls for braising the meat in the oven.

Venison chili

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 3 and a 1/2 hours

Calories per serving: 267 calories

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds venison or beef, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced small
  • 2 pablano peppers seeded and diced small
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced fine
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles Guinness stout or other dark beer
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chipotle Tabasco
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cornbread, sprigs of cilantro and parsley and low-fat sour cream for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together flour, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.. Rub meat cubes with spice mixture, making sure to cover all sides.
  2. Put beef in large bowl, cover and marinate in refrigerator for one hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. In a large heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add cubes and sear until crispy and browned on all sides. Do not crowd pan. If necessary, brown venison in batches.
  5. As meat is done, remove and set aside.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, bell peppers, poblano peppers and garlic. Cook 3 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Add jalapeno and oregano and continue to cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.
  8. Pour beer into pan and stir to dissolve browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring beer to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
  9. Add tomato sauce and Tabasco and bring mixture to a simmer. Add reserved venison.
  10. Cover pan, transfer to the oven and bake 1 hour, or until meat is very tender.
  11. When meat is tender, add black beans and reserved vegetables.
  12. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
  13. Remove chili from oven.
  14. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and parsley.
  15. Serve chili in bowls, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro and parsley sprigs and corn bread.

Per serving: 267 calories (percent of calories from fat, 43), 15 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 12 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 33 milligrams cholesterol, 487 milligrams sodium.

Venison country fried steak
James Beard Award winner Virginia Willis with her family recipe for country-fried steak in her home in Decatur, Ga. Country-fried steak can be cooked with venison, or deer meat, instead. Louie Favorite/AJC

This recipe, shared by James Beard Award winner Virginia Willis, uses venison in place of the commonly-used beef for this distinctly Southern dish.

"More often than not, Mama made country fried steak out of venison, or deer meat. We've always had deer meat in the freezer, a gift from my uncle or a kind neighbor. She would marinate the full-flavored meat in red wine to tenderize it

"The first time we cooked venison at culinary school, my chef told me to cook it rare. I was astonished. Rare deer meat? Well, it was a revelation. The meat has so much more flavor than being cooked to gray and tasteless. Now, when Mama cooks country fried venison steak, she always cooks it rare.

How she adapted it: "I now add a bit of Dijon mustard and herbs to really bring out the flavor, and Japanese bread crumbs for a crispier coating. If I don't have venison on hand, I often use rib-eye, a very tender cut of beef and a huge hit in my cooking classes --- and when I go home to visit Mama. It is a good example of taking something typically very Southern and using French cooking techniques to make it more refined."

Venison country fried steak

Calories per serving: 444

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds venison, cut into 1/4-inch-thick serving-size portions
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, or panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Cooking Directions

  1. Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the mustard and thyme in a shallow bowl. Brush the mustard to coat both sides of the meat.
  3. Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 cup flour in a second shallow bowl. Season both with salt and pepper.
  4. Place eggs in a third shallow bowl or pie plate and whisk lightly. Dip the meat in the flour, shaking off excess, then in the eggs, allowing the excess to drip off. Then dip the meat into the bread-crumb mixture, patting on both sides to coat.
  5. Heat the oil in a large heavy-duty skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add the meat without crowding and cook until dark brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Using tongs, turn the meat and cook on the other side an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining meat and serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 4): 444 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 45 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 215 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium.

Venison Mini-Meatloaf
Meatloaf can be made in a slow cooker. Photo from America’s Test Kitchen. America's Test Kitchen

Venison Mini-Meatloaf

Prep time: 30

Cook time: 30-45

Total time: 1 hour

Calories per serving: 209

Fat per serving: 6 grams

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds venison, ground
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 green peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 29-ounce can tomato sauce

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine venison, onions, celery, carrot, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, bread crumbs, eggs, and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
  2. Shape into two small loaves.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and brown loaves on both sides, being careful to keep their shape.
  4. Add green pepper strips and tomato sauce, and simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes until loaves are cooked all the way through.
  5. Serve on a bed of white rice, if desired.

Per serving: 209 calories, 6 grams fat, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 307 milligrams sodium.


Game-Day Venison Chili
This past Saturday I spent the afternoon in paradise. Standing in the sunny, cool crisp fall air, catching up with friends, taking in wafts of meats smoking on

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