by Wendy Hyde
October marks the beginning of deer hunting season across Virginia and in many other parts of the country. Hunters using archery gear take to the woods, followed in early November by muzzleloader enthusiasts, and general firearms deer season begins on November 16.
If you’re new to hunting or have not had the benefit of a mentor to teach you these skills, processing your own meat can be an intimidating task. The best way to learn is with a coach beside you, talking you through the steps, helping when you have trouble, and answering questions as you go. If you don’t have a friend or family member to call on, taking a class is a great option.
This recipe is a hearty family favorite that can be made with several cuts, including a roast or steaks. The homemade roasted red peppers add depth of flavor and produce a smoother texture than diced fresh peppers. This Goulash is even better the second or third day. Served with a chunk of warm pumpernickel bread, it’s a satisfying start to the fall season.
2 lb. sweet yellow onions, ¼” dice
2 Tbsp. bacon fat or unsalted butter
2 lb. venison stew meat, diced into ½” cubes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 c. dry white wine
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. dark molasses
3 c. beef stock
2 large roasted red bell peppers, ¼” dice (see recipe below or use jarred, store-bought peppers)
2 bay leaves
Ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Caraway seeds, lightly toasted
Peel and chop the garlic, add caraway seeds, mince together and set aside. In a Dutch oven over medium heat melt 2 Tbsp. bacon fat, add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add garlic mixture, marjoram, tomato paste and both paprikas and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until paste begins to brown lightly. Stir in meat, wine, Worcestershire, vinegar, molasses, beef stock, roasted peppers and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Remove lid and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes until meat is very tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve in soup bowls garnished with a dollop of sour cream, toasted caraway seeds and chopped fresh parsley. A small amount of horseradish can be added to the sour cream for a more robust topping.
Roasted Red Peppers
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil then place a wire rack over the sheet. Distribute whole, clean, dry peppers evenly over the rack. Roast peppers in the center of oven, turning occasionally, until blackened in places, about 30-45 minutes. Transfer peppers to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Remove stems, skins and seeds using a paring knife. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze on a parchment paper-lined sheet in a single layer. Store frozen peppers with a piece of parchment or plastic wrap between each.
Wendy Hyde can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram as @girlgamechef. Photos by Wendy Hyde. Reprinted with permission from Chesapeake Style Magazine, www.chesapeakestyle.com; October 2019 issue link http://www.chesapeakestyle.com/October%202019%20Ches%20Style/October%202019%20CS.pdf