I’m very much into foraging for wild food and I recently, luckily, scored a bunch of morels and a big bunch of wild ramps (also known as wild leeks).
Last night I made a birthday dinner for a good friend of my daughters. The kid has been hinting he wanted to try venison so that’s what I went with.
First, I got my big cast iron pan hot and fried up a couple big chunks of smoked pork neck. Added some canola oil and had a flavorful place to sear pieces of a hindquarter roast I had cubed and dredged in black pepper and seasoned salt. I threw those in my pressure cooker with two Guinness and a couple bay leaves. Cooked high pressure for 40 minutes. They came out fork tender but still held their shape.
While the meat was cooking I sauteed ramps (chopped greens as well as split bulbs) and shitake mushrooms (the morels will star in future dishes, the delicate flavor would have been lost in this one) in the drippings of the venison, keeping the pork neck in the pan and adding a bundle of thyme and rosemary.
When meat was done, I drained it and added sauteed ramps and shrooms (deglazing pan with white wine and adding this to the pot), bundled herbs, a can of cream of celery soup and a can of water.
Served over angel hair pasta with a fresh loaf of Marco Polo bread and real butter. The room went silent except for the sound of eating. Finally, the kid looked up at me with big eyes and said, "This is REALLY good!". I didn’t hear anything else from him until he was done.
I was proud to introduce a 16 year-old kid to venison in a way that he’ll always remember as a good thing. The best thing is this is a kid who just recently gave up 10 years of vegetarianism.
Nothing like wild food to get you in touch with what’s real and good. Not that vegetarianism isn't real and good......if you're into that, I guess.....