Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mr. Hawthorne's Most Delectable And Delightful And Exceptional Lunch.

Rosie is trying to clean out her freezers to make room for her upcoming Christmas baking. On Friday, Mr. Hawthorne found a deer hindquarter in the utility room freezer and we turned our attention to that. I didn't make a pictorial essay of the deer. My bad. Sometimes I just can't record everything. Sorry. But I do have the rest of Mr. Hawthorne's wonderful lunch of shredded deer meat, chunky applesauce, mixed greens, smashed potatoes, and the most sublime deer juice sauce. This was one of the best meals I've had.
Here's the deer meat today, Saturday, when Mr. Hawthorne started lunch. And here's the ... er ... "recipe" for deer hindquarter: We put the frozen deer meat into our slow cooker. We added the following: 2 cups beef stock (From the Denver cut I cooked the other day when I made tamales.)
You are allowed to use low-sodium, canned beef broth. 1/3 bottle cabernet sauvignon
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (If you don't make your own, let me suggest Sweet Baby Ray's.) 1 TB Mr. Stubb's Hickory Smoke 1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce - the thick stuff 2 TB soy sauce 2 tsp onion powder 2 tsp granulated garlic freshly ground salt and pepper to taste Mr. Hawthorne turned the slow cooker to high. And noticed the light didn't come on. However, the unit heated up. I used this crockpot about 2 weeks ago. Everything was fine, except I did notice a slight rusting around the ON light. Sadly, my slow cooker is a casualty of Irene. In preparing for Irene, we went to the ground floor and got everything of importance to high ground (we thought) and we hoped for the best. Anyways, after about 2-3 hours on high, my West Ben Slow Cooker, Model #84367, died on me. This is the thing about floods and water damage. Much of the damage won't show up until months later. Back to the deer meat, I transferred the meat and juices to a roasting pan, covered it with foil, and put it in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hours. Then Mr. Hawthorne cut the temperature back to 200 degrees and cooked for an hour or two more, depending on your oven. Cook it until you can peel the meat off with your fingers. The same goes if you're crock-potting your deer meat: Cook until the meat pulls back easily.
This is the deer meat Mr. Hawthorne shredded off for our lunch today. Closer up, so you can get an idea of the texture.
Mr. Hawthorne went out to the garden to pick greens.
This is looking down from my deck.
I love these vibrant greens. I grew those greens. They taste amazing. They are intense. They are green. They are so full of good stuff it makes your body scream. That's how good these greens are. My body screamed.
Collards, mustard greens, kale, and turnip greens.
There's a rogue volunteer tomato in there along with the self-seeding lone crimson amaranthus. Let me tell you our lunch menu for Saturday, November 12, 2011. Hindquarter deer meat, lovingly cooked. Mess o' greens, like nothing you ever had. Seriously. Chunky apple sauce. Chunky semi-smashed potatoes. The most velvety, luxurious sauce I've ever had to pleasure to devour, made by Mr. Hawthorne. Follow along here. You won't be disappointed. This is one of the memorable meals of my life. Do you have any idea what that means? To ME? I thank you, Mr. Hawthorne, for one of the absolute best meals I've had. Any Yankees out there who want to know how to make a mess o' greens, listen up here. Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne are here to tell you how.
This is a piece cut off from one of our country hams from a while back. We vacuum pack the excess pieces and save them for cooking greens. This is a must-have in a Southern kitchen.
Rosie's Greens. Yes.
My Greens deserve to be capitalized. These greens were not just any greens. They were not picked up at the Teeter or Food Lion. These are RosieGreens! Hand-tilled, hand-seeded, hand-tended, hand-weeded, hand-mulched ... by Rosie.
Mr. Hawthorne quartered the ham chunk. Sauteed it over medium heat to release the juices. Then he added a little water and let it simmer a bit.
Look at that big passel of greens in the back. And look at that small pan in the front. I know the front pan looks bigger, but it's about 1/5 the size of the colander in the back.
Mr. H. stuffed the greens into the pot. Keep covered.
Cook the greens down over medium-low heat.
Keep cooking down. About 1 - 1 1/2 hours. While the greens were cooking down, Mr. Hawthorne started on his applesauce.
He chose an assortment - Granny Smith, Gala, and Red Delicious.
Add the peeled and sliced apples in with a tablespoon or so of butter.
After the butter melted, Mr. Hawthorne added about 1/4 cup water and two teaspoons sugar. Cook over medium low heat until apples are tender - about 5 - 10 minutes. Taste test and cook it until the apples are the texture you like. Lastly, Mr. Hawthorne is making an exquisite sauce to accent his meal. First, make a roux.
One tablespoon unsalted butter in the pan.
Over low to medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add in a tablespoon of flour. Mr. Hawthorne is sprinkling in an instant flour - Pillsbury's Shake and Blend. Whisk constantly.
When the butter and flour are incorporated, add 1/2 onion chopped. Cook until flour has lost its raw taste. Total time is 2-3 minutes.
Next, Mr. Hawthorne added the highly concentrated deer gravy into the pan. Keep stirring. I use a whisk since I think you get a smoother sauce that way.
The deer gravy is very concentrated and after a taste test, Mr. Hawthorne added some water. I'm going to pour the concentrated gravy into ice cube trays and freeze for later. It's that good. Cook over medium heat and allow to thicken. Taste. Add more water as needed.
Mr. Hawthorne finished this off with a splash of heavy cream.
Here's what's cookin'.
Deer meat, on the left, sitting in a glistening pool of ambrosialicity. In the middle, smashed potatoes in the back and chunky applesauce in the front. On the right, my Glorious Greens.
The mashed potatoes were nicely done. I didn't have a homogeneous mass of potatoes - I had both chunky potatoes and smashed ones and it was wonderful with melted butter and a spoonful of the sauce. When Mr. Hawthorne sliced the apples, he sliced them in different thicknesses, so you have different textures of apple here. The apple-not-a-sauce was the perfect foil for the deer meat. I always like a bit of butter in my Greens. These are not bitter greens. These are my sweet, earthy Greens, permeated by ham flavor. I feel healthier already after eating Greens.
Now for the deer meat. Holy Deer! There was no gaminess whatsoever. This reminded me of beef jerky, sort of, but the deer meat was juicy and tender, not dry and chewy. The texture was somewhere between a pot roast and a corned beef brisket. The flavor was robust and layered. I loved it. The sauce, however, was magnificent. Dense. Intense. Rich. Smooth. Creamy
I can't describe how delicious this was. I guess I'll just have to show you:
That's how wonderful this meal was.

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