My friend Katahdin hunts deer and is so kind as to load my freezer with some cuts of the delicious provisions. He was lucky and skilled enough to get them near where we both live in Martha's Vineyard.
He does a beautiful job butchering them and left me this fall with 2 glorious shoulders in my freezer. When I went back to the Vineyard for New Years I decided to thaw them out and prepare them and serve them to my fine friends (Katahdin's Family) back in N.Y.C. this weekend. Boy were we all happy and well fed. I am so lucky for a multitude of reasons to have Katahdin and his family as my dear friends. Here is the recipe I made.
If you have some venison shoulders or legs I encourage you to try this... you won't be disapointed.
Braised Venison Shoulder with Parmesan Polenta
2 whole venison shoulders well Trimmed
2 tsp. coarse grained sea salt
2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
10 garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 large onions diced
6 celery stalks cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup flour
12 carrots peeled and cut in half crosswise
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 bunch fresh sage coarsley chopped
3 cups red wine
3 cups white wine
3 TBS. tomato paste
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
Preheat oven to 4oo degrees.
Place a large roasting pan in the preheated oven.
Season the venison with the salt and pepper and rub 2 Tbs. of the olive oil all over the venison.
Place the venison on the hot pan in the oven to sear the meat until golden, about 10 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in an 8 quart casserole, over medium high heat add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil heat and saute the garlic, onions, and celery until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
Then add the carrots, and the herbs, stir and cook until the herbs are wilted. Add the wine, and stir then simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tomato products along with the chicken and beef broth. Stir the liquid thoroughly to combine all the ingredients, then bring to a boil. Place all of the ingredients into the roasting pan with the nicely browned venison. Add 2 cups of water and stir the braising liquid. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Simmer in the oven for 2 hours. Then remove the pan from the oven , turn the shoulders over in the pan, cover the pan tightly again with the aluminum foil. Return the meat to the oven and simmer for another 2 hours. The meat should now be tender. Remove the pan from the oven. Let the venison cool then shred the meat into large pieces. Add some water to the sauce for desired consistency if necessary.
Set the meat aside and make the polenta.
6 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground sage
2 Tbs. butter
1/3- 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano Reggiano
In a 6 quart pot bring the broth to a boil. When the broth comes to a boil, slowly (to prevent lumps from forming) stir in the cornmeal in a steady stream using a wire whisk. Then add the remaining ingredients. Lower the heat and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the cornmeal has softened, about 10 minutes. Add some water to the polenta if necessary. It should have the consistency of oatmeal.
Make a mound of polenta in a rimmed soup bowl. Top with some venison, carrots and sauce.
Recipes and photos by Karen Pickus
Recipes and photos courtesy Karen Pickus 2010