Recipe: Wild Fennel Pollen Rubbed Coues Deer Venison Leg with Haight Ashbury Pickled Mushrooms

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Note: This recipe is not exclusive to Coues Deer and can be applied to any other ungulate.

Recipes courtesy of Steven Rinella and Matthew Weingarten, Chef & Author of Preserving Wild Foods: A Modern Forager’s Recipes for Curing, Canning, Smoking and Pickling.

Ingredients:
  • •1 bone in Coues Deer Leg
  • •2 spanish onions
  • •1 head of fennel, rough chop, fronds and all
  • •1 head of garlic, split in half
  • •2 tablespoons Flour
  • •1 bottle cheap red wine
  • •3 Tablespoons of olive oil for roasting
 Rub:
  • •3 Tablespoons Wild Fennel Pollen
  • •2 Tablespoons coarsely-cracked Coriander Seed
  • •2 Tablespoons coarsely-cracked Black Pepper
  • •1 Tablespoon fresh-ground Juniper Berry
  • •¼ cup Kosher Salt
  • •3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • •3 Tablespoons rough-chopped Thyme

 

 Method:

24 hours before your party:

Combine all of the ingredients from your rub and press into the Coues deer leg liberally.

Wrap lightly with plastic and let marinate overnight in refrigerator.

The next day, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Remove deer leg from refrigerator 30-60 minutes before roasting to come up to temp.

Cut the two onions in half, with the peel on, and place in a large roasting pan along with the chopped fennel and the split garlic.

Place this into the bottom of a roasting pan and then take out your Coues deer leg from the refrigerator and place on top of the vegetables. Drizzle the olive oil all over the top of the Venison leg and then place in the oven uncovered.

Roast for 30 minutes on 425 degrees or until the rub begins to get nice and caramelized on top. Now reduce your oven to 300 degrees and continue to roast for about 30 minutes more, or until an internal thermometer reads 120-125 degrees. (The meat will keep cooking for about a half hour more, once it is out of the oven.) You are aiming for a nice rosy, medium rare on the meat.

 Remove the roast from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make your pan sauce by placing the roasting pan on top of a burner on high. Dust with the two tablespoons of flour, and then deglaze the whole pan with the bottle of red wine.  Some of the rub will have fallen off the roast and caramelized on the pan nicely. Scrape this up along with the well-roasted vegetables and then reduce all of the liquid by half.  After it is reduced, strain everything through a coarse strainer, allowing some of the bits of vegetables, the spices and the roasted garlic to pass through.

Serve alongside the roast, along with pickled wild mushrooms as a compliment to the sweet, and rich flavor of the meat.

 

Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms

Makes 2 pints (four 8-ounce jars)

Pickled mushrooms are a staple of the Eastern and Middle European larder where they are often served with a good roast or simply with bread and butter. To extract all of the flavors and aromas from the spices and herbs, I make a hot salt marinade and bury the mushrooms beneath it before pickling. The spices and herbs permeate the salt with their aromas and the heat from the salt makes the mushrooms more receptive to absorbing these wonderful heady aromas.

In a large bowl place:
  • •2 pounds chanterelle mushrooms (porcinis, criminis, white button, or other foraged wild mushrooms), brushed free of dirt and debris
  • •8 finely diced shallots
  • •2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • •2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • •1 tablespoon roughly chopped marjoram leaves
  • •2 bay leaves
In a large skillet place:
  • •12 black peppercorns
  • •6 allspice berries
  • •1 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • •1 whole clove

Toast the spices over medium-high heat until fragrant and the fennel seeds take on a bit of color, about 2 minutes.

Add:
  • •1/4 cup kosher salt

Stir in the salt and continue to cook until the salt is warmed through, another 1 minute.

Pour the salt and spices over the mushrooms and herbs and set aside while you make the pickling liquid.

In a medium saucepan, boil:
  • •2 cups water
  • •1 cup fruity olive oil
  • •1/2 cup aged sherry vinegar
  • •8 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • •1/4 cup dried currants
  • •2 tablespoons sugar

Pour the boiling liquid over the mushrooms, tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the liquid is at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours.

Place two 16-ounce pint jars or four 8-ounce half-pint jars in a pot of boiling water to sterilize. Heat the lids and bands in a saucepan of barely simmering water. Divide the mushrooms between the still warm jars, covering with some of the liquid (the volume should come to within 1/2-inch of the lip of the jar) and hot process the jars for 15 minutes. Remove the pickles from the pot, and place on a kitchen towel to cool to room temperature, and store.

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

Makes 8 quarts (8 32-ounce jars)

These spicy sweet pickles have become a year-round staple of our pantry. I use them to brighten up the simplest meal of fried eggs or any random, bland leftover I might come across in the refrigerator. You can use a simple mix of sweet red peppers and jalapeno peppers or go for more exotic varieties like Hungarian peppers, cherry peppers, serranos, poblanos, cubanelles, or super spicy habaneros (only use one or two at most, and slice it extra thin!).

On your counter, place:
  • •10 pounds (about 8 quarts) fresh mixed peppers

Slice the stem end off the large peppers and remove the seeds inside, then slice them lengthwise into thick strips. Use a paring knife to make a slit in the bottom of smaller peppers. If you are using any Scotch bonnets or habaneros, slice them crosswise as thinly as possible (wear gloves when handling). Divide the peppers between 8 quart-sized glass jars.

In a large nonreactive pot bring to a boil:
  • •6 cups cider vinegar
  • •6 cups water
  • •1/4 cup sugar
  • •3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
  • •2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced into rings
  • •8 garlic cloves, sliced into thick coins
  • •4 fresh bay leaves broken in half
  • •3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • •1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • •2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Turn off the heat as soon as the liquid comes to a boil. Divide the carrots, onions, garlic, and spices between the jars, pour the brine into each jar, and tightly fasten the lids. Follow the instructions on page 00 to hot-water process the jars for 15 minutes. Remove from the water and cool completely before testing the seal and storing in a cool, dark, dry place. Once opened, the pickled peppers can be refrigerated for many weeks.

 

Pickled Mushrooms and Pickled Peppers recipes courtesy of Preserving Wild Foods, by Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel, Storey Publishing November 2012

2 Responses to “Recipe: Wild Fennel Pollen Rubbed Coues Deer Venison Leg with Haight Ashbury Pickled Mushrooms”

  1. Duane72

    That sounds amazing!! I have never even tried some of the ingredients before or know where I would get them locally, but it sure makes me want to look.

  2. Nessmom85

    This is our new Christmas meat; bye bye turkey!!!!! Steve thank you for posting this! We absolutely LOVE your shows!!!! This belongs in a 5 star restaurant! There are no words to describe how scrumptious this meat was! The freaking crust on the meat was outta this world and I cook with a lot of spices , but never what was in this rub.( Yes I am female , and I cooked this dish)
    Ok, first off I couldn’t find juniper berry around where I live , and I added a mix of oyster and baby Bella mushrooms to the amazing sauce!
    When I cook this for Christmas I AM finding that juniper berry because I am so curious as to what other flavor it would add.
    Let me say I like deer, but I hate fennel seed or anything licorice tasting. So I was hesitant to try it.
    We used white tail.
    I want to share this dish with everyone!
    The meat itself taste better medium because its not as gamey, but the well done portion was amazing, too.
    When I say gamey, I’m not talking about lamb ; deer is way milder tasting!
    Thank you again Steve!!!! I hope you and your family have the best holidays!!!

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