Over the past several years I have spent a good amount of time reading and searching for new and creative ways of using the venison I shoot each year. I have tried just about everything I have found and some have worked some have not. Something I have found out about venison is that it works really well in asian inspired dishes and can be used in place of lamb pretty successfully. When cooking venison I have found that if you cook it for a really long time at a low enough temperature or a very short time at a high enough temperature you will get the best results. Because venison is so lean it has a tendency to get really tough and dry if you cook it wrong.
Recently I was asked to cater a bridal shower for some friends of my wife. The Groom to be is someone I know and is a hunter so I was hoping to incorporate a venison dish into the food for the shower. I don't know the bride to be very well so I don't know what type of experience she has had with venison if any at. I was trying to think of some type of appetizer that would use venison I wasn't having much luck finding what I wanted so i chose to go a different route. I have been experimenting with different recipes and trying to come up with my own recipes. Of course trying to make up your own recipe is a lot harder than I would have thought it to be. Having to test out different quantities and not always getting the result you want can be frustrating. However yesterday I had some success and was very pleased with the end result.
I was trying to come up with something light and fresh tasting that could be eaten with the fingers and wouldn't be messy. Of course only one thing came to mind, Spring rolls. I have made spring rolls before but never using venison so the trick would be how to prepare the venison. I thought about giving it a quick grill with hoisin but changed my mind because I would want to make these ahead of time and unless I could serve them right away grilling might not be the best choice. So I decided to braise a venison roast then shred the meat and use it in the Spring rolls. Here's the recipe:
For the venison
2 lbs venison roast
2 tbls sesame oil
1 tbls chinese five spice powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup cooking sake
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
2 tbls oyster sauce
2 pods star anise
2 tbls honey
6 cloves garlic smashed
Rub the roast with the five spice powder then heat the oil in an oven safe pan until hot. Add the venison and brown on all sides. Remove the roast from the pan and add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and place the roast back in the pan. Place the pan in a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the venison is easily shredded with a fork. Once the roast is done set it aside and place the pan back on a medium hot stove top and reduce the remaining liquid by half. After you shred the roast add the liquid back into the roast. This is where I like this recipe a lot. If you like the flavor of the meat you can add as much or as little of the liquid back to the meat to adjust the flavor. Once you are happy with the taste you can move on to wrapping the spring rolls.
For the Spring rolls
twenty spring roll wrappers
1 package rice vermacelli noodles
2 anaheim peppers (julienned)
2 poblano peppers(julienned)
4 carrots(julienned and sprinkled with sugar)
1 bunch of cilantro
2 bunches spring onions
Prepare the noodles and the wrappers according to the package directions. Place one wrapper flat and add some noodles, peppers, carrots, onions, cilantro and venison to the center then wrap. These will keep refridgerated for several days and are a great addition to any meal. They are light and fresh and absolutely delicious. You can serve them by themselves or with a little Hoisin for dipping.
I am hopping to make these for the bridal shower so the bride can have something with venison in it. Even if they don't like them and I get to take them home I know they will get eaten here. I am going to try to make a lime cilantro dipping sauce for them the next time I make them. This being one of the few recipes I have come up with my self I am anxious to see if other people like them. My study group from school last night really enjoyed them, so thats a start.