One of the items on our list is cooking red meat. Another is cast iron, although I am less worried about that lately. I seasoned my own (even though Ann offered to do it for me, thanks, Ann!). But, regardless, I combined the two with something else I’m a little leery of: cooking game. This guy in my office is quite the hunter, apparently, and the other day I saw a coworker leaving his office with what I actually thought was a heart. It wasn’t (I don’t think) but when I went over to the guy’s cube he offered to let me have some of the venison he had – shot? Hunted? Whatever, there was a cooler of meat in his cube and I took some. (Nope, doesn’t sound sketchy at all. – T)
I looked around and found this recipe, which calls for rubbing the venison with herbs, pan-searing it, finishing it off in the oven and then making a pan sauce with dried cherries and wine. YUM. (Man that looks tasty, why wasn’t I invited over? – T)
The key to cooking any meat, but especially game, is temperature – if you overcook it, it gets dried out and doesn’t taste good.
And guess what happened this time?
So, first we rubbed the meat with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. Let me say, as someone who doesn’t really eat red meat and doesn’t like preparing meat in general, raw meat is just not appealing:
Meanwhile, we were also working on our side dishes: Tom made a salad, and we also made this awesome cider-glazed sweet potato dish with blue cheese, pecans, and bacon. This dish was totally awesome – the only change we made to it was to add an apple.
I poured some olive oil in the hot cast iron pan, and when it was heated up I added the meat. I only turned it once, and once it was seared the pan when into the oven. Looking back I think I could have seared it a little longer but the recipe made a big point of only cooking it for six minutes total. You definitely get a better sear with cast iron than non-stick, though (do I hear a resounding “DUH”?), and I did like being able to switch the cast iron from stovetop to oven with no issues.
So we put it in the oven and I stuck the digital thermometer in – it’s supposed to stay in the meat and once it reaches the correct temperature, the thermometer beeps to let you know the meat is done. So when it beeped only a few minutes later, I was kind of surprised. Guess what? The thermometer was incorrect. When we cut into the meat, it was still raw. Gah. (Sounds like you might need a new thermometer. I am helpful, aren’t I? – T)
Once we finally deemed it finished, we took it out and wrapped the meat in foil while I made the sauce. Now, the sauce calls for dried cherries and black currant jam. I couldn’t find dried cherries and didn’t even bother to look for the jam; I used dried cranberries and some black raspberry jam that we had on hand.
I deglazed the pan with the wine, then added the broth (oh I used chicken instead of beef whatever we had a lot left over after Fake Thanksgiving) and more wine instead of water. So basically I didn’t really follow the sauce recipe at all, but it came out awesome. Meat bits, wine, jam . . . what’s not to like? Well, I didn’t really like how long it took to cook. I think next time I would use less liquid – by the time the sauce had thickened the meat was too cool for my taste. Oh, well.
We plated everything, and Tom sliced the meat. We paired it with a Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon. Tom thought the meat was “Awesomely outrageous.” I thought it tasted like . . . red meat with a sauce. Not that that’s a bad thing! It just didn’t really taste much different than a steak to me. Maybe because it was over-cooked, maybe because I don’t eat a lot of red meat, I don’t know.