My apologies for omitting one of the main components of the duck recipe in last week’s article. The trinity, chopped celery, bell pepper, and onion, is a must in not only wild game recipes, but in most other recipes as well. If you have undertaken this task and already prepared this dish without it, I would wager it still turned out very good. In fact, many of you would probably have included it without following a script. If though, you did create the production and left out the base of most “pot” dishes, this just offers you another opportunity to go back to the kitchen and do it all over again, which isn’t a bad thing either. I’ll re-visit this recipe for just a minute, and we’ll move on. So, back to the ducks now.
In equal quantities, chop your celery, green bell pepper, and sweet onion. Melt a stick of butter in a skillet and begin sautéing the celery and bell peppers first. These two ingredients take just a bit longer to reduce and soften than the onions do. I find that the onions may turn just a bit darker than I prefer if I throw the entire medley of vegetables into the mix at one time. You can add the onions when the celery and peppers begin to change in texture. When finished to the texture you prefer, transfer the trinity, butter included, to the pot of the other ingredients mentioned last week. Now you may pick up where we were last week. Again, my apologies for omitting this, but look at this on the bright side, this “retry” provides the opportunity to collect more ducks for the next batch. See how my thought process works? I bet you do.
While we are on the subject of preparing natural, organic dishes, for Christmas, why don’t we continue? Though by now we are crowding the new year, I think it’s perfectly fine to extend the holiday menus, for we have all year to work. I had to bring it up, didn’t I? Oh well, I’ll pour another cup of coffee, resume writing, and wait for daylight here at home. Just an FYI, when this article is finished, my truck is delta bound. Details will follow in a few days. So, back to the kitchen.
Fried backstrap has always been a favorite in my home. Tenderized medallions of the wonderful tenderloins, fried to perfection, rank far up the charts of wild game dishes. I know we get tired of processing game as the season progresses, especially when the freezers are approaching capacity, but this will change your mind and cause you to get the cutting board back out.
In the past, I have seasoned my thin steaks with salt and pepper, or whatever you prefer, and gently tenderized them on both sides. By seasoning first, the tenderizing process transfers the flavor throughout the filets and not just on the surface. I have always dipped them into flour and then fried them in a skillet with just enough oil to create a sear. I know of recipes where the steaks are drawn through a bath of milk and egg to create a thicker crust when fried. I have no objection to this process, I just prefer a thinner crust. I suppose that’s why Baskin Robbins offers 31 flavors. Both finished products are delicious, it’s just a matter of personal preference. While fried tenderloin seems to be the topic at hand, I will share another recipe that I was introduced to this fall. It may be my favorite now.
You would think those 250 pound bucks of the mid-west are tough as nails. It could be their diet of corn and soybeans, or perhaps just the way they are prepared, but I can’t recall better tasting tenderloins than I had this year in Oklahoma. Maybe part of it was the atmosphere we were in, and I am positive this had something to do with it, but not totally. The preparation was similar to what I do here, with just a couple of exceptions. The steaks were seasoned the same and tenderized the same. However, instead of using flour for a batter, my outfitter used Progresso Bread Crumbs. In a pan, he rolled the seasoned filets until all sides were covered. He gently massaged the crumbs into the steaks to create a firm product. Instead of using oil to fry them, he used a stick of butter only. On low heat, the steaks were fried just a we do here in a skillet. This method produced a nice crust, similar to that with flour, but a bit crispier. The flavor was absolutely, delicious. Remember, the only difference was using the bread crumbs for a batter, and frying them in butter. I can’t recall if the crumbs were seasoned or plain. In fact, I have never even cooked with them before and don’t know if there is such a thing as seasoned crumbs. I suppose we could try both ways if there is such a seasoned product to choose from. See there, here we have another opportunity to experiment in the kitchen now.
The meal was complimented with western style beans, French fries, and bacon wrapped green beans. I must admit, my plate consisted of the fried tenderloins and a piece of bread. In fact, my following plate was a repeat of my first. Man does not live by bread and meat alone, but in this case I surely did.
Have any of you ever even heard of preparing fried venison this way? I thought I have enjoyed this dish in every recipe imaginable. Evidently, I have been missing out for many years, for this is quite unique and different. Better late than never, for this recipe is embedded within the box of hundreds of other wild game recipes that I cherish each hunting season.
Do you recall me mentioning last week, “liver tasting ducks?” I wonder what it would be like to coat duck filets with this new-found batter and either grill or pan sear them in butter? We may be on to something here. You already know how I feel about fileting ducks, but this may just be the perfect excuse from not having to spend the extra time picking and singeing them. Not that this is a carte blanc way out, but maybe just another recipe to add to our vault.
I invite you to explore other recipes for wild game. We still have plenty of time for the collection phase and all year to investigate and experiment with new ways to add another phase of enjoyment for our efforts. If you find something novel that others may enjoy, would you share your ideas? The gesture would be noble, indeed. Until next time enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it. Happy New Year!