Cooking with Venison
A hearty, simple and delicious beef alternativeBy Mike Zlotnicki
I suppose everyone has a meal or dish that evokes childhood memories. The aroma wafting from a kitchen today can take one back in the blink of an eye. One dish for me is beef stroganoff. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with variations from Scandinavia to Japan to Brazil.
Being a deer hunter, I’ve adapted this dish to use venison. My version is based on an old Paula Deen recipe — so simple a man could make it, but delicious. You can use backstrap if you like, but I use one of the roasts gleaned from boning out a ham and cutting it into strips. The ingredients are packaged and sold in the correct amounts, like the 8 ounces of mushrooms, the broth and soup, which makes it easy to shop for and prepare.
Most beef is high in saturated fat. Venison is not. For example, four ounces of beef flank steak can have 9 grams of total fat with 4 grams of saturated fat. An equivalent serving of venison will have about 3 grams of fat with 1 gram of saturated fat. Venison has more vitamins and minerals per serving than beef, and is particularly high in iron, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin.
The one thing venison does NOT have over beef is cost. A 2006 survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that deer hunters spend about $885 annually on equipment and trips. So, I choose not to calculate what my venison actually costs per pound. Instead, I choose to revel in my time afield, and (if blessed with a harvest) appreciate the original “free range,” “hormone free” meat available to hunters here in the Tar Heel state.
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