A while back I made this venison recipe that I thought would be useful to share now that fall's fast approaching. It's originally a Bobby Flay (stop hatin' on the boy) recipe from the Mesa Grill cookbook, that I made with a few adjustments. We served it with Horseradish Twice-Baked Potatoes, also from the Flay repertoire.
I purchased my rack of venison from Lobel's, a small butcher shop on the upper east side that's truly in the old school tradition of butchers that's now a lost art, when the people cutting your meat truly knew and appreciated what they were doing. They were wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable, and definitely worth visiting when you have a chance. Lucky for me, some fresh farm-raised venison had arrived that morning from New Zealand, and I snatched up a rack of it.
Here's the recipe, with my modifications (serves 4):
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 cups tangerine juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
4 jalapenos, charred, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup dry red wine
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 rack of venison (equivalent of about four chops), frenched and tied with kitchen string as shown in pic below so the rack stays tight together. At Lobel's they can do it for you upon request.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Combine the red and white vinegars and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to melt the sugar. Whisk in the tangerine juice and boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and reduced by half, about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in another saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapenos and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the wine, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Whisk the tangerine mixture into the onion mixture, season with salt and pepper, and reduce to a saucy consistency, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
5. While the sauce is reducing, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-proof saute pan over high heat. Season the venison on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the venison to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and a crust has formed on both sides.
6. Place the pan in the oven, and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes to medium-rare. The meat will be red in the center. It's not recommended to cook venison beyond medium-rare, or medium at most, because the meat will become too tough and gamey. If you like your meat overcooked, you're better off foregoing venison that costs upwards of $40 per pound.
7. Remove the venison from the oven and set it aside for a couple minutes, enabling the internal juices to redistribute.
8. Cut and remove the kitchen strings. Slice the venison rack into separate chops and drizzle with the sauce.
Serve it with a doppelbock beer for the absolute best beverage pairing!