04 October 2010

Slow Cookers Go Wild!

As you know, we are fond of game cookbooks and as the weather gets cooler (Who am I kidding, it is downright cold, today!) it is time to think about wonderfully, lovingly braised meats. While some culinary types look down their noses at the lowly crock-pot, many a classically trained chef will tell you there is no better way to braise meat. Still not convinced? Read Mark Bittman's wonderful article in the New York Time.

For game, which can often need a long cooking time, a slow cooker is a godsend. Enter outdoors woman Teresa Marrone. She has put together a book covering both the slow cooker and game. Slow Cookers Go Wild! is a great place to start. Unlike many game cookbooks, this book offers up delightful recipes that can easily converted to wonderful recipes for a cheaper cut of beef or pork, since I know most of readers are not facing an abundance of bear roast or moose... unless maybe Sarah Palin is a reader. ( No she's way too busy to be making slow-cooker moose.)

The sides are a lot of fun. There is a running joke on Top Chef about never making potatoes gratin, because of course they never get done. I love making a scalloped potato with an alternative ingredient. I love scalloped potatoes with pears or turnips. I like making scalloped sweet potatoes. Marrone makes a two-colored potato of white and sweet potatoes and cooks them for hours in the slow-cooker. I had never thought of scalloped potatoes in a slow cooker, but I am definitely giving it a try.

Here's a great venison roast recipe. It requires grabbing ingredients form the bar, but we won't tell.

Venison Roast Braised With Grenadine

2-pound boneless venison rump roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup grenadine syrup

Rinse roast and pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat until simmering. Ass roast and brown well on all sides: if the oil starts smoking, reduce heat slightly. While roast is browning, cut onion in in half from top to bottom, then cut each half across the equator, Cut each quarter into 1/4 inch wide wedges from top to bottom (rather than in half rings). Add onion wedges to dutch oven with roast, and stir them around occasionally while roast is browning. In measuring cup , combine broth and grenadine.

When roast is nicely browned, transfer to the slow cooker along with the onions. Add broth mixture to Dutch oven, stirring to loosen any browned bits. cook over medium heat for about a minute, then pour over roast in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until roast is very tender, 7 to 8 hours. To serve, transfer roast to cutting board and let stand for a few minutes, then cut or break the roast apart into chunks. Place venison in serving bowl; pour juices and onions from the slow cooker over the top.

Try this with a nice side of quinoa and you are good to go.

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