Spicy Venison Cacciatori
Submitted by Mack the Knife
When I went to Ramsey Outdoor for hiking boots, there was a lady selling cookbooks. She made popcorn venison and was giving out samples. It was pretty good- breaded, floured and fried. So I bought her cookbook like a sucker. One of the recipes is "Tracks in the Snow cacciatore" which is similar to this. I've spiced it up and made it a coarser, hunter's dish as cacciatore is meant to be. Cacciatore means hunter:
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- oregano if desired
- 3 large cloves garlic, roughly minced
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 2 long green hot peppers, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2lbs cubed venison, chicken, or beef stew meat
- 1lb small white mushrooms, cleaned with stems trimmed
- 28oz can of peeled or crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 cup red Italian wine
- 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice, or noodles
First, cube your meat and pat it dry. Set it aside.
Then chop your veggies. Don't worry about mincing things fine, except the garlic. The finer, the more flavor. The peppers and onions can be chopped coarsely.
The porter is my reward for cooking this and not just searing the venison and throwing it on top of spinach, as planned. And yeah, that's an antler-handled skinning knife, that's what I used to cube and remove connective tissue. I used Folonari Valpolicella for the wine. It's a decent table wine, nothing special, good with pasta. Which is how it will be consumed, on Sunday.
The mushrooms can just have the stems trimmed, and then cut the caps in half.
SUGGESTION: One thing that I find makes the end product have a meatier umami taste running through the entirety of the tomato broth is to salt and pepper your meat pieces liberally. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in your cast iron/enamel/stainless steel(NOT NONSTICK! :)) pot on high heat until it gets very hot. Place a handful of pieces of meat in at a time, not overcrowding it because you want the heat to remain high. Let them sit still without touching for at least 30 seconds, then they should be stuck to the pan, developing fond on the bottom, and nicely browned. Sear all your pieces of meat on every side this way, then remove them and proceed with the next step, cooking the veggies in the meaty oil+fond you now have.
Heat the olive oil in a stew pot and soften your garlic, onions and peppers in it. Salt and pepper to taste.
Then add the meat, browning it on all sides.
TRY THE WINE! Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, then pour the tomatoes. I crushed them with the spatula, but you can squish them with your hands, or use crushed. Add the basil and spices, and simmer it for 2-3 hours on low heat.
Here's what it looks like fully cooked:
This is a little soupy, so I am simmering it with the cover off for a while longer.
I decided to serve it over long grain brown rice, baby.
The rice is simple; I needed 1 1/2 cups, so I added 3 cups water and a dollop of butter. Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer, cover and cook for 50 minutes.