By Greg B. Despite having an unseasonably warm day, filled with 6 inches of rain thanks to this current tropical depression/massive rain storm, I ate one of those meals that reminds you that fall is just around the corner. A few weeks ago, I purchased a large chest freezer in anticipation of buying bison meat in bulk. And in the meantime, an extremely generous friend, Bart (whom you may know as the one who shared his rockfish with Mike and I last fall, in this post), shared a few pounds of his last year’s hunt with me, both to fill my freezer and to make a little room in his for the upcoming season! This is a very simple, straightforward recipe, but something that I think really goes great with the season.
To start, you’re probably going to want to marinade your venison. Last night before bed I opened the package of butcher’s paper marked ‘Deer Steaks’ that I had defrosted, rubbed them down with a little olive oil and a garlic vinegar I bought up in the Hudson valley’s garlic festival (I should have bought more, we’re running out quick!), add some salt, cracked black pepper, a dash of celery salt and some cayenne pepper. Rub everything down really well, and let sit in the fridge overnight (the next morning, be sure to mix it up a little bit). For those who dont want to read a whole paragraph, here are the ingredients:
- Venison steaks
- Cracked Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Garlic vinegar
- Celery seed
- Cayenne pepper (just a few dashes)
This is pretty much my standard, quick mix marinade, for when you don’t know what you want to do, but have little time to spend thinking about it. Anyway, the following evening, heat up a cast iron skillet, and cook the venison on medium/high for about 5 minutes per side. My skillet has nice ridges, so I can get great sear marks on the meat, but be aware this means less heat transduction, since there is less meat –> hot iron. After cooking for about 10 minutes (give them the doneness poke test), I set them aside to rest.
In the meantime, Jessica was busy preparing her quick spicy pumpkin soup recipe. Like the venison steak, it’s a real quick and easy one, and requires you to have:
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- Olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, diced
- 5 cups stock (or water, with boullion)
- 1 can of pumpkin puree
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
In a cast iron/enamel pot, saute up the onion, olive oil and garlic (we used German white, if you’re picky about which type of garlic) until you get delicious caramelized onions starting to show, then add your stock and bring to a simmer. In this case, we used a can of pumpkin puree which was quick and easy. Incorporate this into the hot stock, one heaping spoonful at a time. Once it’s in, season and spice the mixture to your personal preference (ours had a really nice bit of kick, but not enough to make it runny-nose hot, just enough to open up the taste buds a little, and let you really taste the pumpkin). This soup is, unlike many other squash soups, more of a water mixture and as such is quite low calorie, but high in flavor. While we’re a pretty paleo-diet friendly house, this would make an exceptionally lovely soup to dip some french bread into, or to add some form of dumpling (we were envisioning pumpkin-filled ravioli, or some form of squash dumplings, or even bits of pumpkin, for future soups).
With that, serve both and enjoy! Soup is an incredible way to warm yourself in the colder weather, and though today is unseasonably hot and humid, this will make a fantastic soup to enjoy as we work through the fall months and into winter. Spicy, flavorful, and a delicious side to an extremely tender, juicy and high flavor/protein, low fat steak that is venison steak! Also, for my first time eating Sika deer, I have to say it is extremely tasty, potentially more so than white tail… but this is a hypothesis that needs further testing!