In my early 30s, I developed what is termed Adult Onset Hunting. My family had harvested their own wild game since I was little, but my participation only involved eating. When I was around 30 years old, I decided to try and prepare some deer steaks. Growing up, deer steak had been prepared one way: butterflied steaks with over-medium eggs, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The only seasoning needed was salt and pepper.
Don’t get me wrong, deer steak and eggs is my favorite first meal after the deer hunt. I look forward to it every year, and if no one harvests anything that season there is a definite disappointment. But I was interested in more from my deer steaks. I wanted to get creative. I started experimenting in the kitchen and the results were wonderful. I loved sharing the creations with my family too.
The desire to create and prepare different meals led to a curiosity about the rest of the hunting process. I wanted to learn to harvest my own meal, field dress and clean the animal, and process all my meat. And that is where the Adult Onset Hunting started.
- 1.5 pounds venison backstrap
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Montreal steak seasoning
- 4 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons Prosecco vinegar
- Two medium jalapenos, diced
- 1 15 oz can dark sweet pitted cherries, juice drained
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons horseradish
- Loaf of French bread, sliced into 1 ½ inch slices
Sous Vide the venison backstrap
1. Generously season the venison backstrap with the Montreal steak seasoning.
2. In a gallon-size freezer bag, combine the tablespoon of butter and two cloves of garlic, crushed, with the seasoned venison backstrap. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag.
3. In a large pot filled with water submerge the venison backstrap. Clips can be used to help keep the venison submerged during the cooking process.
4. Set the water to 129 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook venison for three hours for medium rare.
5. Once venison is finished in the sous vide, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the outside of the backstrap.
6. Thinly slice the backstrap for the crostini.
Caramelize the onions
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Thinly slice the four onions and add to the skillet. Cover with two tablespoons olive oil.
3. Let the onions cook for ten minutes, stirring to keep them from burning to the bottom of the skillet.
4. Sprinkle the teaspoon of salt over the onions to help with further developing the caramelization.
5. Continue cooking the onions for 30 to 45 minutes. If the onions seem to be drying out, add a tablespoon of water or balsamic vinegar to keep them from burning.
6. Stir the onions often enough to keep them from burning, but not so often that you disrupt the caramelizing.
7. Continue browning and stirring the onions until they are a burnt caramel color and very soft.
Make the onion cherry jam
1. Once the onions are fully caramelized, drizzle the tablespoon of honey over them. Increase the heat to medium.
2. Add the Prosecco vinegar and diced jalapenos. Drain the juice from the cherries and add the cherries to the pan.
3. Stir everything together and allow to reduce into a jam for 15 minutes.
Put it together
1. Slice the bread into slices about an inch and half thick. Brush with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
2. Under the broiler, lightly brown the bread until the edges start to turn golden brown and the bread is crispy.
3. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and horseradish. If you are a fan of the horseradish spicy kick you can add a little extra horseradish.
4. To the toasted bread add a slice of venison backstrap, a spoonful of the cherry onion jam, and a dollop of the sour cream and horseradish sauce.
Lindsey Bartosh, an eighth-generation Moab girl, loves hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, writing, photography and working on her website www.huntingandcooking.com.