Monday, January 13, 2020

Rosie Cooks Backstrap. It's Venison Time!

We're fortunate enough to know people who hunt and I recently found myself the lucky recipient of some deer backstrap.  The backstraps, in case you don't know, are the two lengths of meat on the back of the deer, outside the rib cage on either side of the spine.  It's a lean muscle and since it doesn't do a lot of work, it's quite tender.  And it's extremely flavorful.
I'm planning on giving it a bit more flavor with a marinade (since I'm marinating some other deer parts as well), then I'm searing it in a hot iron skillet until the internal temperature is around 125°.  I'll be serving it with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.  Doesn't get much better than this.
Rosie Note:  I planned to have some green peas with this too, but was all out. (I like the little green eggs in the nest of mashed potatoes.)  And I only use frozen peas, not canned.  Mr. H. volunteered for a Food Lion run, so I held off cooking everything, waiting for him to get back with the peas.  An hour later, he got back.  With FIVE bags of groceries.  And NO FREAKIN' PEAS!  I sent him for ONE THINGONE THING!  Arrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!   Rosie stops to take deep breaths...

Anyhoos, in case you need to know exactly where the backstrap comes from, here's a visual:

First, I'm making a marinade.  You can marinate the meat anywhere from 8 hours to several days.
To prepare the meat, I used a very sharp knife to remove any silver skin.  The silver skin is a thin membrane of connective tissue found on meats.  Silver skin, unlike collagen which will dissolve into gelatin during cooking, does not break down and will cook up tough and chewy, curling the meat. You want to take it off.

Rosie's Marinade
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup dark Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil  (I used Corto)
2 TB ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour over meat in a zip-lock bag.

Massage every now and then.
After a day in the marinade,
I cut the meat into 1 1/2 inch thick pieces and returned to the marinade for a few hours.

When you're ready to start cooking, slice up some mushrooms and onion for the gravy.

Backstrap steaks are ready for the pan.

I heated an iron skillet with a thin layer of oil in it, then threw in a big pat of butter.
This is over medium-high heat.
When the butter is melted and almost turning brown, put in the meat.

Four minutes, then turn over.
And cook for another four minutes on the other side.
Next, I added in the mushrooms and ...
the onions and ...

cooked for about a minutes, stirring.

Next, pour in 2-3 tablespoons flour.
Stir about a minute to cook the flour.
Reduce heat a bit - to medium/medium-low.

Then slowly pour in a little of the marinade juices that were left sitting in the bowl with the backstrap steaks and ...
stir in some beef broth.  About 2 cups.

Stir and cook until gravy thickens up and ...
... meat registers 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove meat from pan and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Oh... the aromas!

Serve with smashed potatoes.
Just imagine little green peas in the potato nest!
For the potatoes (Do I need to tell you how to make potatoes?), I sliced several potatoes into 1-inch chunks and cooked them in simmering salted water until tender.  And no, I don't bother to peel as I happen to like the peel.  When tender, drain the potatoes and take a pastry blender
and go to work on those potatoes.  Add in a few pats of unsalted butter, a splash of cream, and smash away.  Season with kosher salt, to taste, at the end.
Spoon some of that gravy over the taters.
Oh my.  This is so good.


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