The home of my brother- and sister-in-law is situated in country residential East of Edmonton. Their house is set back from a rural road and surrounded by trees. Moose will bed down on their front lawn and there is a new deer track every morning. What a perfect location for a family of hunters.
At our last visit we watched a snacking deer as the sun set. The Monster was actually quite afraid of the deer, hiding behind her uncle as he tried to point out the doe in the trees. She constantly repeated, "I'm afraid of the deer." Hmm, maybe it had something to do with the head of a buck on the living room wall?
Regardless, I was a little nervous as to how she would react when I pulled out a gifted deer roast from the freezer. Would the memory be so strong and she would be afraid to eat? Would she get upset at eating an animal, albeit a different animal, she just saw?
The roast was simply labelled "deer roast". Hmm, I had no idea what cut it was. That makes a difference in how you cook a roast. Animals with lots of connective tissue require a slow, low roast to ensure a tender piece of meat. At the other end of the spectrum, a cut like a tenderloin needs high heat and to be cooked for only a short time. What to do, what to do? God love the internet. Most hunting related sites suggested marinating the roast in buttermilk or milk, overnight. Well, that wasn't an option. I was making it for dinner that night. What I did find is that unless it was a tenderloin that most methods included a liquid of sorts. So I went with an old fashioned pot roast.
Smashed garlic, a rough chopped onion, and a pile of carrots went into the La Creuset beside the well seasoned and browned roast. I poured in a bottle of beer and stuck it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. In the end, it was a bit long, with the roast cooked all the way through. But oh, was it ever tender. You could definitely tell it was game and not beef, but it had tremendous, rich flavour. I served it with some homemade horseradish cream that my dad makes every year.
It turns out I didn't need to be nervous about whether The Monster would like it or not. Her plate is always put down first. By the time I turned around and put down plates for Hubby and I she'd already powered through half of what I gave her. "Good bacon, Mama," she informed me. And this past weekend she told her uncle that she was no longer afraid of the deer.
The deer roast was also a good introduction to red meat for The Smilosaurus. Cut in tiny little chunks she ate more than The Monster. And since that night she's been a meat fiend. Steak dinner out one night, ribs, even chicken tagine. Our little carnivore. And it all started with the deer our family provided. Now that's local.