Thursday, June 10, 2010

Venison Steaks with Red Wine and Mushroom Reduction, Sauteed Kale, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Tonight's dinner utilized the last of my dad's venison steaks.  There's nothing better than home "grown" food.  I love knowing that my father, with nature's help, provided something I'm going to eat.  He even harvested the deer on the land that we own and nurture.  Whenever I tell friends that I've killed my own deer, they look at me funny.  You...killed...something?  Yes, yes I did.  I took steps to ensure that I would kill an animal in a humane way.  I connected with the nutrients I ingest in order to survive.  

I feel that people should reconnect with their food.  What a lot of people are now consuming is some food-like product in the form of a neatly packaged pink fleshy thing without fat, bone, or blood.  What you are consuming once belonged to a living animal.  We should be cognizant of this fact.  Living things die so that you may continue to live.  Even vegetables and fruits!

I believe that a person should be okay with that in order to eat something.  Or, if you aren't okay with consuming an animal, you should be a vegetarian or vegan.  Both lifestyles are perfectly fine and can easily be done in today's American society!

Personally, I would rather be an informed and caring meat eater.  Here in the Valley we have access to many amazing meat producers such as Piekarski's, Austin Brothers Farm, Chase Hill Farm, and Barnum and Buckley.  I feel fortunate to know where my meat is coming from.  I also buy meat from Atkins Farm and the local Whole Foods.  With all of this in mind, let me present to you my dinner on the fly.

Venison Steaks
Red Wine and Mushroom Reduction
Sauteed Kale
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients (serves 2 with leftovers for 1 lunch)
3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
4 venison steaks
2 cups of red wine (merlot or cabernet sauvignon - $4 bottle from Whole Foods~)
1 bunch of lacinto kale (aka dinosaur kale)
1 T sour cream
4 white mushrooms
3 sprigs of chives (dried chives would work in a pinch!)
1 clove of garlic
herbs de provence
olive oil

(Note - I like to keep my seasonings simple when I'm using quality ingredients.  It's best to let them shine through!)

Peel, chop, and boil the sweet potatoes.  While they are cooking, work on the rest of the food.

Bring 2 cups of red wine to a boil.  Add a splash of dry sweet vermouth.  Reduce.
Saute 2 T chopped onion and 4 chopped mushrooms in 1 T butter until soft.  Add to red wine reduction.  Set on low heat and reduce while you prep the rest of the food.

Clean and chop the kale.  Using the same pan that you cooked the onion and mushrooms in, add 1 clove of chopped garlic and 1 T olive oil (I typically buy EVOO, but any fat will work!).  

Meanwhile, heat your cast iron skillet (you could absolutely use a regular skillet...but my in-laws bought us a wonderful cast iron skillet and I try to use it whenever I can.  Steaks are a great use for it!).  Season the venison steaks with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence (sprinkle a bit on each side).

Heat up the cast iron skillet.  Add a pat of butter and let it melt and bubble.

Heat your mushroom and onion - now kale - pan.  Add the lacinto kale.  Cook on medium heat until it yields some water.  Reduce and let cook 10 to 15 mins while the cast iron heats up.  

After 10 mins, add the steaks to the cast iron skillet.  Cook 3 mins each side - be careful not to over cook them!  Venison is extremely lean.  I actually over cooked my steaks a bit.  Over cooking venison will make it tough.  Better to under cook a little bit! 

While the venison cooks, drain your sweet potatoes.  Mash with an electric mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid!) and the sour cream and chives.  Set aside.

Turn off the red wine reduction.  Set aside.

Judge the kale depending on how soft you like it.  Turn off or turn the heat up as necessary.

Turn your steaks!

Shut off the cast iron pan.  Plate your steaks and let them rest a few minutes. 

Clean what dishes you can while these items are resting - the best tip my mother ever gave me about cooking (and she's given me many good tips!) is to clean as you go.  It saves a lot of time, energy, and grumbling after dinner.

And there you have it - Venison Steaks with Red Wine and Mushroom Reduction, Sauteed Kale, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  And on a work night, no less.  Enjoy!


  1. Girlie, you are making me drool! I would much rather eat this than all these stinking rhubarb dishes I've been forced to make. What do I do with Rhubarb other than Rhubarb/strawberry Jam and Rhubarb/Strawberry Pie?

    Help me please!

  2. Try using rhubarb with pork! Make a rhubarb compote and put it over pork chops. I also have my grandmother's recipe for a rhubarb quick bread - would you like me to share that? Hands down the best thing to make with rhubarb is a strawberry rhubarb crisp (or just rhubarb crisp).

  3. rhubarb compote? please share or of course quick bread. Anything but strawberry rhubarb combo.

  4. Haha. I'll grab the quick bread recipe from my book at home and post it on here tonight! For the compote, you basically just cook the rhubarb down with a bit of water and sugar. Grill some porkchops and serve it with the compote!