Tag Archives: venison

Korea in a Hot Stone Bowl: Bibimbap

21 Jun


Working next to a Korean restaurant for most of the workweek, I have – for the past 8 months or so – been under the constant assault of fantastically pungent aromas courtesy of K-PeppersMy familiarity with Korean cuisine sorely lacking, one dish that always caught my eye – and tongue – is bibimbap.  Translated as “mixed rice”, bibimbap is an extremely simple and insanely popular dish throughout Korea.  Ingredients vary widely from region to region, as does preparation and serving.  By far the most interesting variation of the dish is dolsot (“stone pot”) bibimbap, which is served in a crackling hot stone bowl the acts to crisp the bottom of the rice and cook the egg right at your table.  It’s the Korean take on fajitas, really.  And who doesn’t love fajitas?  That sizzle!  How fun!

After diving in and making bibimbap for the first time at home, I felt compelled to finally head next door and see the authentic dish, prepared by some serious Korean chefs, Eric and Rachel Kim. How it took me 8 months to finally make there last weekend is a crime. 

KPeppers Bibimbap

Quite a spread, eh?  One of the coolest parts of the Korean meal are all of the banchan or small side dishes that come with the meal ranging from pungent kimchi to fried carrot pancakes and coleslaw.  The sizzling bowl was more than just a gimmick, creating a delicious crisp rice crust on the bottom and cooking the runny egg yolk just enough to make for a creamier mixed rice.  My first tango with fern brake and bellflower root was certainly a memorable one.  Don’t call me LeVar Burton and don’t take my word for it.  Go to K-Peppers and see for yourself.  Then go home and make it for yourself.  This is simple comfort food at its best and it is endlessly customizable to whatever you feel like or happen to have on hand.  It has a fried egg on it, people.  Enough said.


Ingredient Rundown:

  • A variety of vegetables (my version, pictured above and absolutely by no means traditional contained spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  More traditional ingredients include daikon, bellflower root, eggplant, zucchini and braken fern stems.  Shockingly I didn’t have most of those on-hand.)
  • 1 egg per serving
  • 1 cup of prepared rice per serving
  • Venison, beef, chicken, tuna or any other protein of your choice
  • hot sauce to taste (I made a paste of Sriracha, sesame oil and Szechwan chili sauce
  • sesame oil and minced garlic for sautéing vegetables and protein
  • salt to taste


How I do it:

  1. Sauté vegetables, seperately, in minced garlic, salt and sesame oil until cooked through. (I left the cabbage raw).  Set aside.
  2. Cook enough rice (I used white jasmine) for 1 cup per serving.
  3. Sauté protein in sesame oil (in my case, venison steak, marinated in rice wine, rice vinegar, ginger, and some leftover La Folie). Slice thin or into small pieces.
  4. Lightly fry an egg, sunny side up.
  5. To assemble, place rice in the bottom of a large, heated bowl and arrange the vegetables and protein in an interesting way.  Top with the fried egg and hot sauce to taste. 
  6. To eat, break the runny yolk and mix everything together.  It’s called mixed rice, so that’s what you do.  Pretty simple.  And delicious. 

Check out this post and plenty of other savory food-related nuggets over at Forkful of News!


For Deer ol’ Mom: Venison Fajitas

10 May

The great thing about having parents who are avid hunters is the endless stream of delicious venison that I get sent home with just about every time I visit.  Dad recently returned from an excursion in Colorado with some great mule deer meat that we also happened to grill for his 50th birthday on Friday.  An extra thawed package remained in the fridge, just begging to treat mom to a great Summer-y meal on Mother’s Day.  I was happy to oblige on a beautiful day like today.  And wouldn’t you know it, I drove home with a passenger seat full of venison, a big potted mint plant for my porch (ahem, mojitos), and money for a haircut (clearly, I need some work :/).  I love Mother’s Day!

Venison Fajitas

Ingredient Rundown (serves 2-3):

  • 1lb venison steak (Colorado mule deer backstrap steak in this case)
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • spicy rub for venison ( if you don’t have any Penzeys Northwoods Fire yet, fix that)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • plenty of chopped cilantro
  • ~1/3 cup of grapefruit juice (optional, happened to be in my parents’ fridge and seemed like a fun way to add some sweetness and acidity in a quick marinade)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortillas (flour or corn – I ended up using some foo-foo cilantro-jalepeno-flavored, fajita-sized flour ones)
  • sour cream and/or fresh pico to garnish

How I do it:

  1. Rub venison with spices, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.  Add lime juice and grapefruit juice and allow to marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least half an hour but up to several hours in refrigerator.
  2. Slice bell peppers and onions, sprinkle with rub, salt, pepper, cilantro and citrus and allow to marinate along with venison.
  3. Fire up that grill.  Cook over high heat for 3-5 per side or until cooked medium.  You could pan sear the steak as well, but what fun is that?  It’s grilling season, damn it, despite the occasional 35 degree May hiccup.  Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes then slice thin.
  4. Saute the veggies with a tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat until translucent 8-10 minutes.
  5. Heat the tortillas (a few seconds in the microwave brings them to life) and assemble with condiments of choice.
  6. Take a shot of premium tequila with your mom.  She deserves it for being your mom and you deserve it for whipping up a quick and tasty meal.  Dig in.

Venison Ragu at Quarter-to-Two

21 Apr

You just can’t help when hunger strikes.  My, uhh, eccentric schedule often leads to late-night/early-morning dinners.  Despite being well-past 1AM, a quick perusal of my dismal food stock left me with a meager line-up of ingredients.  The protein that jumped out at me from the back of the freezer being a pound of ground Italian-style venison sausage, courtesy of my father’s hunterly pursuits.  A humble can of tomato sauce,  a small can of tomato paste, an onion, a little garlic, and a few condiments later had me replete with a rich ragu or meat-based sauce fit for topping any matter of pasta or pasta-like applications.  Just because it’s 2 in the morning doesn’t mean you need to resort to frozen pizzas and Hot Pockets.  Real, simple, tasty food can be made with just a modicum of patience and even less formal training.  Just say no to the jarred stuff.  You can do it yourself, and no jar of Prego is going to give you that rich, savory sense of satisfaction that only comes from a home-cooked meal.

Venison ragù

Ingredient rundown:

  • 1 lb ground venison (Italian-style, if you will)
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce (I normally don’t use this and would have made a basic tomato sauce from canned tomatoes myself, but, well, I didn’t have any.  I had this.  So I used it.)
  • 1/2 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp rendered bacon drippings (venison is a very lean meat and can often use some help in the fat department to avoid drying out with cooking.  I save all my drippings from cooking bacon in a container in my freezer for just such occasions)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for sauteing onions, but also helps with leanness of venison
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 large mushrooms, diced (I used baby ‘bellas)
  • 1 tablespoon of capers and their brine (optional, but I think their brininess worked great here)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • splash of red wine
  • pinch of dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, paprika, red pepper flake, garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

How I did it:

  1. Saute onion, mushroom and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent (~5-8 minutes).  I used a medium cast iron skillet that is quickly becoming my favorite kitchen item.
  2. Add ground venison and bacon drippings, season, and brown for ~10 minutes
  3. Add beef stock, tomato sauce and paste, capers, red wine and parmesan cheese.  Mix well and continue to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for at least half an hour, but up to several hours.  It will continue to thicken and develop richer flavors the longer you cook it.  Add more beef stock if it reduces too much.
  4. Serve over pasta, in a lasagna or in any other application where a rich, meaty sauce is called for.

Just like Mom used to make, except for, you know, with deer.  I realize everyone doesn’t have access to ground venison, but this is Wisconsin, damn it.  You know someone who hunts and people who hunt always have extra meat unless they’re not very good hunters.  You could make a perfectly serviceable ragu with ground beef or veal, lamb, heck – just about any red meat – but I hold a soft spot for venison and have a nearly endless supply of it, so I try to use it when possible.  You should, too.  It’s good for you.

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