Venison is new to me. I tried it first in a Venison and Beef Chili, cutting the chili with half venison and half beef. It was delicious, nothing too “gamey” or weird or wrong. Rahul’s parents gave us frozen ground venison and venison steaks, both of which sat in the freezer for about a month before I figured we should try them.
Due to the success of the Venison and Beef Chili, I figured I’d try the steaks on their own, allowing the true flavor to come through. In my mind, this recipe is really no different from preparing a really good cut of steak in a peppercorn sauce or something, although slightly more time intensive.
Emeril Lagasse has a Steak Diane recipe with filet mignon medallions in a creamy mushroom sauce and homemade veal stock. I obviously trust Emeril after I worked my way through his Kicked-Up Sandwiches cookbook, and while many of his Cajun and Creole dishes are out of reach (mussels, clams and seafood not easily found in good quality), this one was now not.
Emeril’s veal stock is where the bulk of the work comes in. Since I was only making dinner for two with no real need to keep veal stock on hand, I decided to quarter his recipe. Also, after calling a meat market to find out that 4 pounds of veal bones was $5.99 a pound and therefore going to cost WAY more than I had wanted to spend, I decided to be frugal.
Enter – my trip to Kincaid’s, the meat market at 56th and Illinois where I shamefully say I had yet to enter. It was like walking into 1960, although the clothes that we all wore were modern and our hair looked better. A shotgun store with several freezer chests and a long fridge counter that separates you from the meat and their butchers. Several wooden blocks line the back wall where each man trims, wraps and labels the meat before it’s handed to you.
Unfortunately between the time that I called Friday afternoon and when I arrived Saturday at 10:30 AM, veal bones were no longer available. After stating my need to make veal stock, a shiny pink package of veal shanks were pulled from the refrigerator, weighing about 1 1/2 pounds and with much more meat than what I would have gotten on veal bones. For $7.00, I walked out happy.
Thankfully I had the majority of the day to prepare the stock. This is not something you’d make on a weekday unless you took the day off. Alternatively you could prepare the stock on a weekend, put it in the fridge and use it later in the week.
I served the venison steaks with seasoned red potatoes and green beans. This ended up being a perfect side for the steaks, as the potatoes can be used to sop up the sauce and mushrooms and tends to balance out the strong flavors of the steak.
VENISON STEAK DIANE
ADAPTED FROM EMERIL LAGASSE’S STEAK DIANE
- 4 venison steaks, roughly 3 ounces each
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 scallion, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of white button mushrooms, chopped
- 50ml bottle of brandy, roughly 2 ounces
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup veal stock (recipe below)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 drops of Sriracha
In a large iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Season venison steaks with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook 3 minutes per side or until browned and no longer bleeding. (Timing will depend on the thickness of your venison steaks. Mine were about 3/4 of an inch thick).
Remove the venison to a plate and cover to keep warm – I put mine inside the microwave.
To the skillet, add the scallions and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
Here’s the fun part – add your shot of brandy to the pan. Tilting it away from you, light the brandy on fire with a long-stemmed lighter. BE CAREFUL. I, of course, had Rahul do this. The flame was BIG. It takes about a minute to die down (don’t worry, it will).
Add the heavy cream and dijon mustard and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add the veal stock and let cook for another minute. Lastly, add the Worcestershire and Sriracha and stir. Put the venison steaks back into the pan so they can bathe in the sauce before you put them on your plate.
SERVED WITH SEASONED RED POTATOES AND GREEN BEANS
- 2 handfulls of fresh green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed
- 3 medium-sized red potatoes, washed and cut into cubes
- 5 cups water
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
In a large pot, add the potatoes and green beans. Pour the 5 cups of water on top and cover, bringing to a boil over high heat.
Turn the heat down and add the 2 bouillon cubes. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Drain the liquid and return the vegetables back to the pot. Add the dried thyme, garlic salt, pepper and butter, cut into small pieces so it melts easier and you don’t have to bruise the tender potatoes while you stir. Enjoy!
VEAL STOCK (ADAPTED FROM EMERIL, QUARTERED TO MAKE JUST ENOUGH FOR THIS RECIPE)
- 1 1/2 lbs veal shank ribs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Half of a yellow onion, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of red wine (I used Trader Joe’s Zinfandel)
- 5 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grab a large baking sheet and set the veal shanks on it. Drizzle with olive oil, massaging into the meat on all sides with your hands. Roast in the oven for 1 hour on the middle or bottom rack, checking every 15 minutes to rotate the meat. There will be some oil on the pan, don’t drain it because you’ll need it later.
Chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. After the meat has roasted for 1 hour, add the vegetables and garlic to the baking sheet. Add the tomato paste, doing your best to get it on all of the meat and vegetables (I find that the squeeze tube variety is best for this). Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to rotate the vegetables and meat.
After the vegetables and shanks have roasted, scoop them out of the pan and put into a large pot to make the stock in.
Sit the baking sheet on the front and back burner and turn both of them onto medium. Pour the wine onto the baking sheet, allowing it to release any brown bits from the pan. Add the wine and drippings to the pot with the veal and vegetables.
I didn’t get a picture of this, it just happened so fast that I didn’t have time to grab the camera, sorry.
To the pot, add the water, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and allow to boil uncovered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the stock has reduced down about two fingers down (my measurement, probably a little over an inch) from the side of the pot. You’ll see the line where it was when you started boiling it and it will reduce down from there.
Strain the stock over a fine mesh sieve into a small stockpot. Boil the reduced stock for 15 minutes, reducing it further.
Pour the stock into a glass measuring cup and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This cools the stock and separates the fat that will need to be skimmed from the top. I was left with a little over half a cup of stock. Since I only needed 1/4 cup for the recipe, I put the rest into a sandwich bag and laid it flat in the freezer, giving me enough for one more Venison Steak Diane recipe.