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Venison Medallions are sure to be a crowd pleaser. (Linda Smith / For the Enterprise)

What's cookin': Deer season offers opportunity for new autumn menu choices

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What's cookin': Deer season offers opportunity for new autumn menu choices
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Today's the day a good share of Minnesotans have been waiting for - the opening of deer season. It's a time of camaraderie between extended family and friends. It's roughing it at the hunting shack, getting to wear the same stinky clothing for a week and a time of reveling in the outdoor beauty of northern Minnesota. Oh, yeah, if you're really lucky, it's also a time of bagging a deer. Although I'm usually rooting for the deer, if someone could relieve me of the ones that have munched to destruction all of my flowers this summer, you'd be doing me a huge favor.


Wishing you a safe, fun and productive deer hunting season!

Baked Venison Steaks

in Whiskey Sauce

3 slices bacon, diced

6 venison cutlets

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

Juice of 1 lemon

1 t. dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

3 T. butter

2 T. flour

1 c. beef stock

2 T. whiskey

1 T. cranberry sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon in the butter until the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Then drizzle the venison with about half of the lemon juice and sear in the Dutch oven. Remove from pan and keep warm. Cook onion, carrots and celery in pan juices and a splash of vegetable oil, if needed. Sprinkle with flour and salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the beef stock and the whiskey, stirring until sauce is smooth. Bring to a low boil; replace venison and cover. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Remove meat and vegetables from pot; add the remaining lemon juice and the cranberry sauce. Thicken over medium heat and serve with the roast. Makes 6 servings. Note: Mashed potatoes, cooked noodles or wild rice would be a great accompaniment.

Smothered Deer, Elk or Moose Steaks

1 T. olive oil

2 onions, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 green bell peppers, diced

1 (2.25-oz.) can sliced black olives

3 lbs. deer, elk or moose steak

1 T. Creole seasoning or to taste

1 t. garlic powder or to taste

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies

2 envelopes Lipton Beefy Onion Soup mix

2 cans beef broth

3/4 c. Clamato tomato cocktail juice

1/4 t. sherry

1 box Zatarain's Dirty Rice mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. In same large pot, sauté steaks (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in the olive oil until just browned on both sides. Season with Creole seasoning, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Continue with these directions until all of the meat is browned. Set meat aside in deep casserole dish. Again, in the same pan the meat was cooked in, stir together cream of mushroom soup, Ro-Tel, beefy onion soup mix, beef broth, Clamato and cooking sherry until blended, all to make a gravy. Pour onions, bell peppers and black olives over meat, and then add gravy mix. Cover casserole dish with foil and cook in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve over a bed of cooked Zatarain's dirty rice. Makes 10 servings. Note: If your group likes rice, you might want to make two boxes of the dirty rice.

Venison Black Bean Chili

2 lbs. venison roast, cut up

1 packet chili seasonings

2 t. chili powder

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. cumin

1 large onion, chopped

2 cans black beans, drained

2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans chili-style chopped tomatoes with juice

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

1 (16-oz.) can refried beans with green chilies

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Cut the venison into 1-inch cubes. Turn the crockpot on low. Mix chili seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin together. Toss venison cubes in this mixture and place cubes in crockpot. Add in chopped onions, black beans and 2 cans of chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on low. Uncover and stir in tomato paste, refried beans and the salt and pepper. Serve at once, garnishing with sour cream, green onions and cheese to taste. Note: My family loves chili served on a scoop of cooked brown rice.

Venison Medallions with Mushrooms

1 lb. venison tenderloin, cut into medallions

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

3 T. butter

4 oz. of your favorite mushrooms

1 1/2 T. flour

1 c. water (or a combination of dry sherry or red wine and water)

1 beef bouillon cube

Sprinkle salt and pepper over venison and put it aside. In a large nonstick pan, sauté the onions in 1 T. of butter until they are partially done; add garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté another 5 to 10 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, use another skillet, either stainless or cast iron (that can be put in a 400-degree oven) for the venison. Put 1 T. butter in the pan and quickly brown both sides of the venison. Put the pan in a 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes, depending upon thickness. While the venison cooks, add 1 T. butter and the flour to the vegetable pan, stirring until it becomes a paste. Add the liquid and continue to stir until it develops a gravy consistency. Remove the medallions and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve vegetables and sauce over the medallions.

Venison Pot Roast

1/3 c. flour

1/2 t. marjoram leaves

1/2 t. thyme

1/2 t. garlic salt

1/4 t. pepper

2 1/2- to 3-lb. venison roast

1 can French onion soup

1/2 c. coffee

3 T. cooking oil

1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

4 small turnips, cut up

2 parsnips, peeled and cut up

Carrots, peeled and cut up, as many as you want

2 or 3 stalks of celery, cut up

2 medium onions, quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large plastic bag and mix. Add the roast and shake to coat. Brown the roast on all sides in cooking oil in a Dutch oven. Add the rest of the flour mixture, the soup and the coffee and stir until smooth and bubbly. Cover and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the vegetables and return to oven. Bake for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until meat and vegetables are tender.