This is a great meal for anytime of the year, but it’s also great for ‘scrap’ meat trimmed off the deer. Instead of grinding everything into burger meat, trim off the silver skin and clean up these cuts for soup. Braise it over medium heat in liquid for about an hour so the meat is tender.
Recipe By: Stacy Harris, author of two great cookbooks and founder of Game & Garden,
Place garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides once. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube.
In a stew pot, brown venison stew meat. Remove from pot.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to soften.
Add butter beans, corn, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, peas, and meat to the pot with two quarts of water. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for one hour or until the vegetables and meat are tender.
Add the spinach leaves and cook five more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice of one lemon. Serve with pesto and Rustic Bread. Garnish with a sprig of basil.
Hint: If you need dinner in a hurry and have a pressure cooker, cover the stew meat about 1½ inch with beef stock, onions and ½ tablespoon of salt. Once the pressure cooker reaches a boil, turn it down to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Release the pressure and add the contents to the soup.
Hint: Dry your venison (with a towel) before browning anything. If you don’t then the moisture from the meat steams it, and you don’t want that. If the meat is dry then it’ll brown and that’s what you want to lock in the flavor before adding the meat to soups or stews.
Hint: Spread out the venison (chunks) in the pan so they’ll brown and don’t let them clump up. Keep them separated. Use only a little bit of oil and brown them for just a couple of minutes, turning to get each side browned.
Hint: Sweat your diced onions to release more flavors and make them sweeter, to bring out the flavor of the onion. It’s OK if you get them a little caramelized but not too much. You don’t want to burn them.
Hint: You also can add celery while doing the onions. The flavor will not be as intense if you don’t sweat the celery. It makes soups more flavorful. It only takes a few minutes on medium-high heat. If you’re using minced garlic it only takes about 30 seconds or so or it will burn if you don’t add a little liquid. Burned garlic isn’t good.
Hint: If something gets a little dry, just add a little bit of olive oil but not too much. Olive oil never hurt anyone.
Lemon is a great addition because a little bit of acidity helps make every part of the dish come alive. Don’t forget the lemons. Fresher is better, of course. Seed them after cutting it in half and squeezing the juice.
Hint: Cast iron skillets do a better job of dispersing heat more evenly for whatever you’re doing.