The slow cooker is your friend. Shanks, necks and ribs can be incredible if first slowly braised to make them tender and moist. Then slap them on the grill for a little char and smoke. Try long-simmered venison in tacos, egg rolls or with pasta. Pound out backstraps or slices of ham for cutlets or chicken-fried or go raw with the tenderloins for some incredible tartare, carpaccio or South Texas parisa. Here’s a recipe for stuffed venison flank, a misunderstood, throwaway cut.
1 boneless venison flank, about 2 to 3 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground pork or sausage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or parsley
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cups carrots, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red or white wine
Venison stock, chicken stock or water, as needed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the flank with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix the ground pork, sage, bread crumbs and eggs. Season with salt and pepper; omit the seasoning if using bulk sausage.
Lay the flank in front of you with the grain running across, from side to side. Spread the pork mixture across the center of the flank, roll the flank around the stuffing, then tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches.
In a large Dutch oven or braising pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the stuffed flank on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the flank to a plate.
Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Return the flank to the pot, spoon some sauce over it, and add enough stock or water to cover the meat halfway.
Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then place the pot in the oven. Braise, turning the flank every 30 minutes, until tender, 4 to 5 hours, adding more stock, if necessary, to keep the flank half covered.
Taste the finished sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let the flank rest for 5 minutes, cut away the twine, and slice thickly against the grain. Garnish with the chopped parsley.
Adapted from Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, by Jesse Griffiths. Welcome Books. © 2012 Jesse Griffiths.