When my neighbor Tony gifted me with some very fresh venison steaks recently I was excited and a bit apprehensive. Where we live the deer are plentiful and I have long viewed them as pests. Prior to the installation of a high fence for my back yard, our garden was the scene of daily deer traffic. They ate my flowers, nibbled on my shrubs and left plenty of droppings near where my children played. So the idea of “thinning the herd” has never been offensive to me. The problem is I have never cooked venison before. What do I do with this?!
I got plenty of advice from folks who have experience with venison. I was tempted to marinate the steaks or use a brine. But I ultimately decided to go the simple route and just pan sear the venison steaks. The exotic flavors come primarily from the cauliflower couscous side dish and the accompaniment of the sweet and tangy red onion compote. These recipes are the result of my plan to treat the inherently paleo venison (hunter food!) with the respect it deserves. I wanted to add some sophistication to this meat and create something special with complimentary flavors.
While taking photos of the venison and cauliflower couscous I offered some to Nathaniel who eagerly submitted to being my taste-tester. But my voracious reader did a little multi-tasking during his taste-testing gig.
Oh how I love a reading boy!
Venison Steak with Cauliflower Couscous and Red Onion Compote
Pan Seared Venison Steak Recipe
- 1.5 – 2 lbs venison steaks, approximately 1/2 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons fat (I used 1 tablespoon ghee and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
- ground allspice (to taste)
Cauliflower Couscous Recipe
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 allspice
- black pepper to taste
- Optional – 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil (only if making the cauliflower couscous by itself and not cooking it in the pan with the venison which will already contain fat)
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor (in batches if necessary) and pulse until it resembles couscous.
- Place the shallots, pine nuts and dried currents in the hot skillet where you cooked the venison. (Or, if making it independent of the meat dish, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan.) Cook for about 2 minutes stirring constantly and deglazing the pan.
- Add the cauliflower couscous, salt, allspice and pepper to the pan and continue cooking and stirring for about one minute. Turn the heat off and allow the cauliflower couscous to continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Red Onion Compote Recipe
- 2 medium red onions, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3-4 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- dash of sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Combine the sliced onions, oil, wine, vinegar, water, honey and rosemary in a medium pan and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Once the onions are softened and most of the liquid absorbed add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, stir and serve.
Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear other ideas for preparing venison.
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