Going meatless was not in any of our resolutions, but I do strive to have some meatless days during the week interspersed with my exerciseless days.  (May the latter be more and the former be still even fewer).

The deer have been plentiful here, and we have have been given the bounty of the hunts from three of our hunter friends/family. My SIL brought us some ground up deer.  My husband went on a hunt of his own, down to Nahunta Pork Center in Pikesville.  It is a pork-only retail center, and it has been some years since we made a pork-run.  It is about 170 miles from our house, but we love their sausage.

Last evening, our dinner fare was a melding of the deer and pork bounty.   I made a meatloaf using the ground deer, which is very lean, and the hot pork sausage.  If you, too, are faced with more deer meat than you can manage, I would recommend a meatloaf.

There are many meatloaf recipes around.  Here's a clip from CBS that you can watch with Chris Kimball from America's Test Kitchen on CBS.  At the grocery store, you can find meatloaf mix which is beef, veal and pork. It is a tasty base for chili as well.  If you have not tried it, it can be a culinary adventure for you.  If you watch the clip, you will note the bread soaked in cream or milk as an ingredient.  This combination is a good one for hamburgers as well.  The point is to (1) add texture and (2) add juiciness.  Using deer meat elevates the need for both.  While the clip shows bacon barded over the meatloaf, I think that the bacon overpowers the meatloaf.  Rather I go for the zesty sauce applied toward the end of cooking.(1)  If you are unfamiliar with zesty sauces that you can easily make at home, master this simple art.  You can turn chicken and pork leftovers into an easy and tasty weekday meal by simply chopping up chicken or pork roast coating with your delectable sauce.

But a cook has to improvise with what is on hand--and be confident in embracing the flavors that cook and cook's family enjoy.  The main event here is ensuring that texture and taste are maximized.  More bread and cream will make up for a singular meat type, so don't despair in that regard.  Many years ago I had a recipe for meatloaf that had sausage as a component.  Sausage adds fat and flavor.  Ergo, Nahunta + deer = meatloaf made with sausage and ground deer.  I also like to soften onions and include them. I threw in some ground flax seed and quinoa--all with excellent result.

The meatloaf was divine:  excellent flavor and texture--and great leftovers. The only thing better than meatloaf is a meatloaf sandwich.

(1) Zesty Sauces:  If you have never made your own barbecue sauce it is quite simple, and it is a palette from which you can paint your sauce masterpiece. A barbecue sauce is simply a chili sauce.  The base of  a chili sauce is chili powder, ketchup, some acid, some sweetness and a mustard foil.  Here's where you can really be adventurous.  A large container of chili powder is indispensable in the kitchen.  The Bitten Word has three sauces.  Seeing the three of these together will give you an overview of the latitude that you can take.

Here are some considerations for you to experiment with to suit you and your family's tastes:

Tomato base:  ketchup, perhaps combined with tomato paste
Chili powder: Mix it up!   Dark chili powder, light chili powder, Ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper.  The Asian markets are great for chili garlic sauce which is a great flavor enhancement.
Sweeteners:  Molasses, Yoshida's gourmet sauce, maple syrup, corn syrup, brown sugar
Acid:  lemon, vinegar
Mustard:  Dijon, brown, yellow prepared, powdered
Onions and garlic, vegetables or powdered also make a great addition.

Once you make your own with staple ingredients in your kitchen you will never be satisfied with bottled again.


Post a Comment