Like so many of the other 'firsts' involved in cooking my way through the French Laundry Cookbook, this was my first time cooking venison... AND my first time eating venison. I don't have anything against game, per se, its just that I don't really like meat that much, so I certainly wouldn't go for a good venison chop over, say, a nice steak.
The first step in making this, like with most of the meat dishes, was making the anything-but 'Quick Sauce.' Ideally, I would have had venison bones. I didn't. I couldn't find any anywhere (anyone in SD want to give me a hint about where this is possible?), so I got beef bones. I figured, if anything, it would hide the potential game-yness of the venison chops.
Mis: stock - chicken and veal, mirepoix, beef bones, and blueberries (my substitute for the also-unfindable huckleberries)
This time, when roasting the bones (and UNLIKE when I did the lamb quick sauce), I had a little splatter screen. It's amazing how much pain a little $3 accessory from Ikea can save a person.
Also as a result of the splatter screen, I was able to take some extra pictures - here, after the second 10-minute bone roasting when I added the mirepoix
Eventually, I cooked the bones, mirepoix, stock, and blueberries down and strained, then strained again, then reduced again. Yeah, not quick.
Next, I roasted the shallots. Super easy - shallots, thyme, and a little oil...
All tossed in a foil packet, then tossed in the oven
Next, I frenched the bones. The ruby-red meat was both a little freaky and beautiful.
The butternut squash! My very favorite vegetable, at least when roasted (and especially when roasted then make into a soup).
The instructions said to peel, then cut circles. But I seriously saw no point in doing this when my circles were smaller than the neck of the butternut squash, so I just cut them lengthwise, then cut out the circles (shhh.. don't tell anyone)
These were boil (not pictured), then pan-fried (also not pictured). And, most excitingly, they were scored, so that they had a little diamond pattern. Really wish I had a picture of that!
The finished plate (a little out of focus, sorry):
The meat was great - not gamey at all. In fact, I think its way less gamey than lamb, and I love lamb chops. The bacon was a perfect amount of added fat, since the dish was generally pretty lean. And it was super pretty when served - just look at the perfect circles and pretty bacon handle and stuff (but ignore that the sauce isn't that good a circle - i'm not great with making a circle using a spoon). Pretty delicious, and not that hard.