Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Venison Chops with Pan Roasted Butternut Squash

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.

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