The Game Is On

By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos                   

Venison Goulash Stew with Fresh Herbs

 

Fall is a great season. The leaves are full of color. The evenings are refreshingly cool and there is a feeling of calm in the air after a hot summer.

Growing up and throughout my career, Fall has always been the season for cooking venison, wild boar and other great game dishes.

When I was a boy in Germany, I would go with my uncle to the markets to see the meat on display. I also hunted. I was once asked to go boar hunting using a bow and arrow. However, after some practice, a rifle seemed the better choice if I wanted to survive the hunt. In the US, while hunting also starts in the Fall, game meat can only be purchased from commercial providers, not from private hunters.

Here are some important considerations when shopping for the 3 most popular types of game:

 

Deer

  • In the US the most popular type is the meat from the white tail deer.
  • The meat is dark red and has a flavor reminiscent of beef with a gamey hint.
  • It is considered healthy because it is low in calories and cholesterol while high in good protein. As deer feed on grass and wild plants, their meat is considered healthier than beef.
  • The best cut is the rack, simply marinated and roasted or grilled.
  • Deer is plentiful in the US but imports from New Zealand and South Africa are very common.

The most versatile is the leg and shoulder, which is used for steaks, sausages, hamburger stews, jerky, or roasted whole with a great sauce made from the bones.

 Boar

  • This is the wild cousin of the domestic pig and richer in flavor but very gamey.
  • The best cuts are the rack, roasted or grilled.
  • The leg and shoulder are suitable for roasts and stews.
  • Purchase boar only from a reputable source such as farms and licensed commercial hunters.

Elk

  • Elk has become more popular in recent years.
  • It is a good, healthier substitute for beef.
  • Cuts and usage are the same as for beef.
  • It is most popular in the Northwest

 

Now, that you have chosen your game meat, what’s the best way to cook it? Here are some cooking tips:

  • Game meat is leaner than other meats and needs a shorter cooking time.
  • When making ground meat based dishes, add some fat or foods that provide additional moisture.
  • To help you to enhance the flavor and reduce the gamey taste of your game, marinade the meat for 24 hours.  

What kind of marinade? Here are three simple instructions.

  1. Combine some red wine with a few bay leaves, juniper berries, pepper corns, a cinnamon stick and some honey and bring to a simmer.
  2. Chill and add some buttermilk.
  3. After the meat has marinated for 24 hours, cook as desired.

 

Finally, what to serve with your game dish?

My recommendation for side dishes are: 

  • Pasta
  • Mushrooms cranberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Lingonberries
  • Roasted chestnuts
  • Poached pears and/or
  • a nice potato croquette

…….and always with a nice silky sauce.

 

 

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