– Do you have any cooking tips for venison? I had a friend give me several steaks and I successfully made jerky (sarcasm). I have been told low heat/slow cook but still, it’s horrible. Tough, dry, blah. The steaks are roughly 1/2″ thick. Any suggestions? Thanks – Amber

Julie Anne Rhodes courtesy of Hello Magazine

Julie Anne Rhodes courtesy of Hello Magazine

Dear Amber:

No, venison steaks will dry out very quickly due to lack of fat-ribboned throughout the meat (game  have been roaming freely as opposed to farm raised animals, and are therefore more muscular). You have to cook venison steaks quickly, over high heat to sear in the juices. Then the meat should never be cooked more than medium-rare, or it will be dry and tough like the “jerky” you describe.

Dinner

Game also has a much stronger flavor, so I like to balance that with some acid (vinegar or fruit juices), and sweetness from dried fruits like dried apricots or raisins in a sauce to accompany it.

Apricot Lamb Chops

Apricot Lamb Chops

You could quite easily replace the lamb with venison in my Apricot Lamb Chop recipe, or here is an example with a yummy duck breast recipe I like to serve on special occasions…

Seared Duck Breast with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

 Seared Duck Breast with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

Why not make something a little out of the ordinary, festive, spectacularly yummy, and deceivingly simple this Christmas party season? Your guests will think you were slaving away in the kitchen all day! You just smile and say “thank you” when they rave.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Seared Duck Breast with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, divided you can substitute canola oil if you have peanut alergies
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 1/4 medium red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 duck breast fillets
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint finely chopped to garnish
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (optional) to garnish
  • 3 green onions (optional), thinly sliced to garnish

Directions

Seared Duck Breast with Pomegranate Cherry Sauce

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and red pepper; sweat until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add ginger, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add Pom juice and cinnamon stick, increase heat to medium, and bring to boil. Continue to boil for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half.
  2. Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in a large sauté pan over medium- low to medium heat. Score the fat of the duck breasts and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add breast to hot pan, fat side down. Let brown for 10 minutes, turn and allow to brown an additional 8-10 minutes (depending on how well done you prefer your duck). Remove from pan, tent with foil to keep warm, and allow duck to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly lengthwise.
  3. Once sauce is reduced, remove cinnamon stick, strain the sauce into a medium size bowl, discard the onion and pepper bits, and add sauce back to pan. Place pan back over medium-low heat; add preserves and brown sugar, stirring until preserves are dissolved.
  4. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until all lumps are gone. Add to the sauce, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. To serve, fan the duck slices out on the plates, drizzle sauce over the top, and sprinkle with mint, pomegranate arils, and green onion. Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this with a medley of brown and wild rice, and stir-fried cabbage, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms.

Heat To Eat

Vent lid of container and heat in microwave for about 2 minutes. Check to make sure it doesn't over cook and that the meat is hot to the touch. Microwave in 30 second intervals until desired temperature is achieved.

Variations

This sauce is divine over lamb too.

 IS OUR VERSION OF THE SYNDICATED COLUMN “DEAR ABBEY,” ONLY ON KITCHEN WOES RATHER THAN THOSE OF THE HEART. SEND US YOUR COOKING DESIRES, QUERIES, AND CATASTROPHES TO DEARJEWELS (AT) JULIEANNERHODES (DOT) COM.

This post was first published September 27, 2013

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