If you or someone in your family avidly hunts in the Adirondacks, then you’ve probably enjoyed the meat of a deer, or venison, at some point in time. Venison has been consumed for centuries, but in recent years it has gained attention for its nutritional properties as well.
Venison makes a good substitute for beef, pork and lamb because while it has a similar protein content to these meats, it is generally lower in fat, cholesterol and calories. For instance, venison round per serving contains 152 calories and 85 mg. of cholesterol, whereas beef round per serving contains 199 calories and 90 mg. of cholesterol.
While venison does have a gamier flavor than beef, it can usually be seamlessly substituted for beef in most recipes. Keep in mind, though, that because venison is quite lean, it generally cooks (and subsequently burns) faster than beef, and overcooked cuts can be very tough.
A popular way of serving venison is in Mexican-inspired dishes, because its flavor complements traditional Mexican spices like chili, cumin and cayenne. For a delicious dish that you can serve at a casual get-together, try out this great venison recipe from renowned chef Emeril Lagasse:
Emeril’s Venison Chili Cheese Fries
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- Salt and cayenne
- 2 pounds of ground venison
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons masa flour
- 1 1/2 pounds shoestring potatoes
- 1/2 pound grated Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos
Preheat the fryer. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start to wilt. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir in the venison, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Brown the meat for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and 2 1/2 cups beef stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the liquid; uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the venison is tender. Skim off the fat occasionally. Mix the masa and remaining stock together. Slowly stir in the masa slurry and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Re-season with salt and cayenne. Fry the shoestring potatoes in batches until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shoestrings from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season the fries with salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a large, glass rectangular pan with the shoestrings. Sprinkle 3 cups of the two cheeses over the fries. Place the fries in the oven and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, just until the cheese melts. Remove the pan from the oven and spoon the chili over the top of the fries. Garnish with the remaining cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.
Don’t forget – Charlie Johns general store in Speculator, NY carries just about everything you’ll need to create this recipe for yourself – you supply the venison, they’ll provide the rest!