If you or a family member has been successful at hunting deer recently, you may also be hunting some new ideas for ways to prepare venison that will appeal to your family. The Extension Office website may be just the resource you need. For recipes on cooking all kinds of venison, go to the Putnam County Extension Office website at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam then click on CFS Homepage and then on either Venison Recipe booklet for recipes using ground venison or click on Venison Cookbook for even more ways to cook all types of venison.
Venison is a broad term that refers to meat from any variety of game animals such as deer, elk, moose, caribou and antelope. The nutritional value and quality of these meats depend on the type of animal, age (younger animals are more tender), diet of the animal and time of year hunted. In the spring, after a long winter and scarce food, meat is tougher and leaner.
In general game meat is leaner than meat from domesticated animals. The small amount of fat on game meat is strong tasting, so you should remove it before cooking. For maximum tenderness, cook slowly by either braising in liquid or roasting and basting frequently.
Ground venison can be used in just about any recipe that normally uses ground beef. However, because venison is usually a much leaner meat than beef, you may need to add a small amount of fat or oil to some recipes. If you are not used to venison, it may taste a bit 'gamey' to you. The age and sex of the animal will influence the taste. If you wish to disguise the wild taste, you will do better with recipes that include tomatoes or tomato sauce as well as added herbs and spices.
Deer meat is generally lower in both fat and calories than either beef or pork. A standard portion of Deer has 134 calories and 3 grams of fat compared to 259 calories and 18 grams of fat in beef and 214 calories and 13 grams of fat in a standard portion of pork.
The staff of the Extension Office has been working with the Greencastle Sustainability Commission's Local Food for Neighbors in Need committee, to help provide locally grown food to families in need. As a result of working with this committee, we recently put together a small handout with recipes for cooking ground venison to be distributed through area food pantries along with packages of frozen venison.
Hundreds of pounds of ground venison are being distributed to local families thanks to the generosity of local hunters and through the help and donation of services by Roger's Custom Butchering in Brazil and Deer Creek Deer Processing, as well as support from Quail Unlimited and donations from the DePauw Bonner Scholars program. Jim Rempe, of the New Providence Food Pantry, where most of the venison has been distributed, due to their having the necessary freezer space for storing and distribution, says that the venison and recipes are being gratefully received by their clients.
The one page handout on Venison Recipes contains 6 easy to use recipes for cooking ground venison. Persons interested in the recipes can find it at our website or if you don't have access to the internet, call the Extension Office at 765-653-8411 and we'll be glad to mail the small handout to you. A larger (32 page) Venison Cookbook, is also available at the website which includes many recipes for ways to cook with other cuts as well as ground venison. This booklet can be accessed on-line or can be printed and mailed out for a $2.00 fee.
Sample recipe from the Venison Recipes Handout:
* 3 slices dry bread
* 1 small minced onion
* 4 oz. canned milk
* 1-2 lbs. ground venison
* 2 t. seasoned salt
* 3 slices bacon
Crumble bread and let soak in milk for 10 minutes. Add spices and onion, mix in meat, top with bacon and dot with a bit of ketchup. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncovered 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. [Other recipes in the Venison Recipe handout include: Gunsmoke Chili, Chuck Wagon Venison, Ground Venison Casserole, Ground Venison Jerky and Ground Venison Stew.]
Check our website www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam to view the most up to date info. You can contact the local Purude Extension Office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding column topics or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
Dec. 14: Private Applicator Program (PARP), Cloverdale Community Bldg, 1 p.m.
Dec. 14: "Ordinary Things Used in Extraordinary Ways", Extension Office, 10 a.m.
Dec. 23: Extension Office closes at noon for Christmas holiday
Dec. 28: Extension Office reopens after Christmas holiday
Jan. 1: Extension Office Closed for New Year's Holiday
Jan. 7: Health Motivator Training -- at Extension Office 1 p.m.