Oh Deer, It’s Almost Thanksgiving!

It’s November, and as we prepare for Thanksgiving here in NYC I wanted to cook something different with a holiday twist. Growing up, Thanksgiving in my home was a big event, with my grandmother pulling out her cape and being a “superwoman” in the kitchen as usual. Turkey, mac & cheese, greens, yams, cakes, and sweet potato pies, which she always made too many of every year. Occasionally she would make a ham (which I did not partake in), or a roast beef. We generally think of Thanksgiving as a uniquely American holiday, but there’s actually a long tradition of harvest-time celebrations and thanksgiving celebrations around the world. In Canada, Thanksgiving Day occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. In the West African country of Liberia, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November. You can also find celebrations in a number of other countries such as Grenada, Netherlands, and parts of Australia , such as Norfolk Island. The actual type of celebration may vary, but one thing that’s universal with all of the celebrations is food!

This week I want to give you a few ideas of different types of dishes to add to your menu for this holiday season. Today we will do a venison meatloaf w/cranberries and a bourbon/walnut sweet potato mash. This dish is sure to be a hit as a side addition to your holiday feast. I mean, the ingredients themselves spell harvest season. Most people add pork to the venison meatloaf, since the meat is so lean. I decided to add some ground chuck beef instead as I don’t eat pork. Add the bourbon sweet potato mash and the veggie of your choice (I roasted brussells sprouts), and you will have everyone clamoring for more and more! I hope you all enjoy my pre-Thanksgiving creation! 🙂

venison meatloaf w/cranberries and bourbon/walnut sweet potato mash
venison meatloaf w/cranberries and bourbon/walnut sweet potato mash

Bourbon sweet potato mash:
4 pounds of baked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.

Heat cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot cream mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with walnuts.

Venison meatloaf:

1 1/2 pounds of ground venison
1/2 pound of ground chuck beef
1 tbs olive oil
1 large chopped shallot
1/2 cup of oats
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
3 large eggs beaten
2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute garlic and shallots until soft but not brown, remove from heat and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and in a separate bowl mix eggs, salt, pepper, allspice, and celery salt  together and whisk well. Knead the venison, beef, oats, and cranberries together without over-mixing, which will make your loaf tough. Add the egg mixture and garlic and shallots to the venison and continue to knead gently until well mixed. Form your loaf and place in a meatloaf pan, I don’t have a meatloaf pan so I used a large casserole dish. Spread very thin even layer of the tomato paste over the top and bake for 1 hour or until oven thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and serve with bourbon sweet potatoes. Bon Appetit!

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5 thoughts on “Oh Deer, It’s Almost Thanksgiving!

  1. Oh Yum! Chef, the pictures are amazing and as always you have made it very easy to follow!!! This is a dish I know the family would devour up in a heartbeat, especially where I live where deer (venison) is a common staple in many homes!

    Like

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