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Old 11-09-2016, 10:47 AM
Ms. Tracker Ms. Tracker is offline
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Default Venison jerky and pickled heart recipes

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So my youngest got a deer yesterday, my oldest got one this morning, an someone hit one out front last night and didn't want it. So that leaves me with lots of venison. The boys love jerky so question is; anyone have a good version turkey recipe they want to share.

Plus I make pickled deer hearts too. I like mine a bit savory but the boys like them a bit sweet. Anyone have a good recipe to share for that?

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Old 11-09-2016, 11:38 AM
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This is both sweet and savory.

Pickled game heart:
Trim and cut apart a heart and simmer in water seasoned with 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt, a little pepper, a bay leaf, a little rosemary, a handful of thyme, several juniper berries, and several smashed garlic cloves for about 3/4 hour and let cool.

Cut cooled heart into strips and place into 1 or 2 canning jars with a handful of sliced red onion, a sprig of rosemary, and a couple of sprigs of thyme in the jar.* For each jar you have, boil up 1-1/2 cups of good cider vinegar with a dozen or so whole black peppercorns, a half dozen juniper berries, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, and 2 or 3 tablespoons of honey (a strong honey like buckwheat is good in this). Pour the hot liquid into jar to fill. Cover and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Let age in the jar a little before eating.
*Optional: Also add a few slices of serrano chile if you want it a bit hot.

Braised pickled venison heart:
If you want some for dinner, shake pieces with flour and fry up in a generous amount of lard. Then simmer along with prunes and dried red currants or tart cherries in a nice brown sauce made from glace de viande/venison stock with red wine, cinnamon, a couple juniper berries, and a touch of dark honey added. (There's a French name for that dish, but it escapes me at the moment.) Serve over brown rice (or kasha/barley groats or polenta/grits).

Some minced heart can also be used with venison meat to make an excellent venison version of true Jacobean-style mincemeat for pies or a fruitier Victorian version. (Neither of which have much of anything in common with the teeth-achingly sweet glop sold in jars as mincemeat these days):

16th Century Mincemeat Recipe

Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced & seasoned with pepper and salte and a lytel saffron to colour it / suet or marrow a good quantitie / a lytell vynegre / pruynes / great reasons / and dates / take the fattest of the broath of powdred beefe. And if you will have paest royall / take butter and yolkes of egges & so to temper the floure to make the paest.

(Translation:*Pie filling of mutton or beef must be finely minced and seasoned with pepper and salt and a little saffron to colour it. [Add] a good quantity of suet or marrow, a little vinegar, prunes, raisins and dates. [Put in] the fattest of the broth of salted beef. And, if you want Royal pastry, take butter and egg yolks and [combine them with] flour to make the pastry.

19th Century Mincemeat Recipe

2 lbs raisins
3 lbs currants
1 lbs lean beef or venison
3 lbs beef suet
2 lbs moist sugar (dark brown or muscovado sugar)
2 oz citron
2 oz candied lemon peel
2 oz candied orange peel
1 small nutmeg
1 pottle (2 quarts) of tart apples
the rind of two lemons, the juice of one
1/2 pint brandy

Stone and cut the raisins once or twice across, but do not chop them; wash, dry and pick the currants free from stalks and grit, and mince the beef and suet, taking care the latter is chopped very fine; slice the citron and candied peel, grate the nutmeg, and pare, core and mince the apples; mince the lemon peel, strain the juice and when all the ingredients are thus prepared, mix them well together, adding the brandy when the other things are well blended; press the whole into a jar, carefully exclude the air, and the mincemeat will be ready for use in a fortnight.

Fold that up in empanada dough and forget what you thought mincemeat was.

Empanada dough for mincemeat filling:

8 ounces (185g) fresh nata or cream cheese, at room temperature.
(Nata is the thin congealed layer that forms when boiling raw milk, common in Mexico, but not here. Nata is sweet, thick, and white; cream cheese works just fine as a substitute and is a lot less work. Lots of Mexican cooks use it these days rather than making nata.)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1 egg

To make the dough, beat the cream cheese with the butter in the mixer at medium speed until creamy and well blended. Gently add the flour and salt and continue mixing for one minute more. Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter top and knead for a minute. Place dough into a bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes up to 12 hours.

Sprinkle flour over the counter top and roll out half of the dough until it's slightly less than 1/4 inch think. For medium sized empanadas, cut out rounds of 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Continue until all the dough is used.

Grease a baking sheet with butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush a thin layer of lightly beaten egg on the edges of the dough rounds. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling into the center of each round. Fold a side of the circle over the filling across the other side. Pressing with your fingers as you close the dough. Without breaking the dough, press the edges with a fork to seal and make a design.

Place the empanadas on the baking sheet. When you fill the baking sheet, lightly brush their tops with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for sweet empanadas or sesame seeds for savory ones.

Bake the empanadas for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops have a golden tan color and the dough is cooked through. Serve hot.

Should you want to go all out on a Chistmas venison mincemeat, the family recipes:

Great Grandma's Mincemeat Recipe:


3 pounds venison, elk, bison, or beef chunks
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1 large bay leaf
1 pound suet, finely chopped (you can reduce this to 1/2 pound if you're using well-marbled beef instead of lean game or grass-fed meat)*
2-1/2 quarts apple cider
2 cups meat broth
3 pounds tart cooking apples, chopped
1 pounds raisins
1 pound sultanas (golden raisins)
1 pound dried cranberries
1 pound dried cherries
1 pound Zante currants
1-1/2 c chopped blanched almonds or chopped walnuts (~ 1/2 pound)
2 oz candied orange peel**
2 oz candied lemon peel**
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 cup firmly-packed moscovado sugar/brown sugar
2 cups applejack, Calvados brandy, or rum

*Suet is firm beef fat. Suet can be collected by trimming the hard white fat from steaks and other cuts of beef. You can also purchase packages of suet from your local butcher, the meat department of your local grocery store, or preferably order the healthy stuff from grass-fed beef online if you don't have a local source. It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It also must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase, just like meat.

** To make candied peel (do not allow yourself to be tempted to use the syrupy, gloppy, sicky-sweet stuff sold in grocery stores these days):

DIY Candied Peel (makes ~ 2-1/2 cups)

3 organic navel or valencia oranges or 9 organic lemons
1 cups granulated sugar
cup water

1. Rinse the fruit.
2. Cut the top and bottom off each fruit and score the skin into quarters.
3. Remove the skin (peel and pith, the white part), and cut the skin into strips about " wide. Wrap the peeled fruit in plastic wrap to store for other use.
4. Place the strips of peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
5. Set on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the peels and repeat this process.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cup water. Pour the sugar water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer.
7. Add the peel and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain the simmer. Avoid stirring, as this will cause crystallation. If necessary, swirl the pan to make sure that all of the peels get covered with the syrup. At the end of this period, the peels should be translucent.
8. Drain any remaining syrup from the peels and set aside for other use (perhaps tea?!) There will probably be only a tablespoon or two of syrup left with oranges, more with lemons. Spread the peels out on a drying rack and leave to dry for 4-5 hours. Store in an airtight container.

I make a big batch of candied peel when I make it, and use the extra lemon peel in shortbead cookies and the extra orange peel combined with crystallized ginger in spice cookies.

Mincemeat Preparation:

Trim fat from meat of your choice.

In a large heavy pan over medium heat, place meat; cover with water. Add cider vinegar, whole cloves, allspice, and bay leaf. Simmer approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls apart. Remove from heat and refrigerate meat in cooking liquid overnight.

Remove from refrigerator and remove meat from liquid. Remove all fat from top of liquid; reserve the liquid. Separate meat from bones, discard bones. Chop cooked meat into small cubes.

In a large pot, combine meat cubes, suet, apple cider, 2 cups of reserved broth, apples, raisins, currants, citron, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar. Over medium heat, let mixture come just to a low boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer until the apples are cooked. Remove from heat and add applejack, brandy, or rum and mix together.

It’s best to let mincemeat stand somewhere cool at least a couple of weeks before using, preferably in the refrigerator. Freeze in air-tight containers or pressure can for longer storage.

This makes an excellent empanada filing as is, or you can turn it into apple mincemeat pies with the recipe below.

Making Mincemeat Pies:

Whole-wheat pastry for 9-inch two-crust pie
2 large tart apples, sliced
Whole-wheat pastry flour
Ground cinnamon
1 quart prepared mincemeat (see recipe above)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare pie pastry.

In a large bowl, lightly toss the sliced apples with a little flour and cinnamon. Spread the apple mixture over the bottom of the pastry-lined plate. Dot with butter. Spoon prepared mincemeat over the top. Add additional rum or brandy to your taste. Cover with remaining pastry and flute. Cut slits in pastry so steam can escape. Cover edge with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.

NOTE: Making apple-mincemeat pies not only stretches the mincemeat supply, but non-mince lovers generally love these.

Bake pie approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove aluminum foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

Sweetmeat Empanadas

Sweet empanada dough #1:

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cups rendered lard (use Spectrum vegetable shortening if you cannot get unhydrogenated lard)
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Combine the anise seeds and cinnamon stick in a cup and pour in 1/2 c boiling water, let steep for at least 5 minutes, strain, and set aside. Melt the lard in the top of a double boiler, add the spice tea, and stir gently. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and gradually add to the wet ingredients until dough forms. If it's still sticky, add a little more flour. Cover and let dough rest for a good hour.

Rich sweet empanada dough #2:

3 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 c natural cane sugar
pinch cinnamon

3/4 cup unydrogenated pork lard or vegetable shortening

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients togethe. Using your hand or a pastry cutter, cut the lard in until it broken down, set aside.

Whisk the eggs and milk together and gradually add them into the dry ingredients until dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knesd for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a little more flour to make a soft dough. Cover and chill for one hour. This dough will make 15 large empanadas or 30 small empanadas.

Using either of above doughs, make 24 (1 inch) dough balls and set aside. Take one dough ball and flatten in tortilla press that is lined w/parchment or a freezer bag, cut to size, (can also use the bottom of a flat plate). Fill with 2 tablespoons of mincemeat or your favorite sweet filling. Fold over, and using a fork or your fingers, press edges together to seal the empanada. If the dough ball feels sticky, just dust lightly with flour before pressing.

3. Transfer empanadas to a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can sprinkle them with sugar before they bake or you can gently roll them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture after they bake (while they are still warm). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.

Historical Footnote:

The original None Such Mincemeat, the first canned mincemeat sold here, was manufactured by a small business called Merrell-Soule in Syracuse, New York before the brand was bought out by Borden. It sold for 20 cents in the 1920s, and back then it contained beef, apples and raisins, orange and lemon peel, cider and vinegar, sugar, and a "secret" blend of a dozen spices. (It had become popular because chopping/grating up your own suet was a bit of a pain before food processors.) Brandy and rum were added back in to one version of it in the 1930s after the end of Prohibition, but at that point Borden owned the brand, and starch had already snuck into the ingredients to cut the cost. It was obviously all downhill from there.

Now, the ingredient list for Nonesuch "Classic Original" American Mincemeat is:
Water, Corn Syrup, Raisins, Dried Apples, Molasses, Corn Starch Modified, Distilled Vinegar, Dried Citrus Peel, Salt, Spices, Beef, Bitters, Fruit Pectin.

It ain't classic, it ain't original, and it ain't got more than a molecule of beef. No wonder so many hate mincemeat these days and wonder how on earth it ever became popular holiday fare. Here's to an eventual resurrection of true mincemeat made with grassfed beef, bison, or venison the old-fashioned way.

Note, it is possible to make a decent vegetarian "mincemeat", although it ought strictly to be called mincefruit, but NoneSuch's current recipe ain't that, either.

Mixed-Fruit Vegetarian Mincemeat
(This is a richer and less-sweet adaptation of a recipe in Linda Arendt's "Blue-Ribbon Preserves."
You can delete the coconut oil, add a few pounds of venison and suet, and turn this is into a tasty real mincemeat as well.)

6 ounces dried apricots, chopped
6 ounces dried tart cherries, chopped
6 ounces dried cranberries, chopped
6 ounces dates or figs, chopped
6 ounces golden raisins
6 ounces dark raisins
6 ounces currants
2-3 cups apple cider or apple juice
3/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup sherry
2 pounds tart apples
2 pounds Bartlett pears, firm ripe
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped orange zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 c virgin coconut oil
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix apricots, cherries, dates, raisins, currants, and 1/2 cup of the sugar and chop in food processor. Add apple cider, brandy, and sherry. Stir until well combined. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to macerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Peel, core and chop the apples and pears. In an 8- to 10-quart pan, combine the apples, pears, orange juice and lemon juice. Stir in the dried fruit mixture, orange zest, lemon zest, and coconut oil.

Combine the remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger until well-blended. Stir the sugar mixture into the fruit in the pan.

Over medium heat, bring the mincemeat mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are tender, about 40 minutes, again stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little more cider.

Ladle the mincemeat into hot jars, removing as many air bubbles as possible and leaving 1-inch headspace. Using a plastic knife, remove any trapped air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process both pint and quart jars in a BWB for 30 minutes.

Yield: 8 pints
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