Take a Walk on the Wild Side!

Pan Seared Venison Steak with Pineapple Ginger Sauce & served over Arugala Salad

I live in NYC, a place that has maybe the most diverse food scene in the world. Here I have tried a wide range of food from different countries and cultures. When it comes to food I have a pretty open mind and I am willing to try most cuisines (I do have my exceptions, which you’ll learn soon enough on this blog). Wild game is one of the only cuisines you don’t stumble upon everyday, even in the Big Apple. I am not saying you can’t find it here. Restaurants such as The Waterfront Alehouse (which I reviewed here), Jean-Georges in Manhattan, and Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights, which has a “wild game festival”, are just a few I know of.

Most people up here in the north won’t eat anything other than beef, pork, chicken and fish. Two years ago I stumbled upon this website www.fossilfarms.com that had almost every type of game meat. I made a mental note to order from them, but it slipped back into the dungeons of my busy brain. A few weeks ago I visited the website and was overjoyed to find that they opened a factory store right in New Jersey. The only catch was that it was a one hour and fifteen minute drive from my home(yikes!). So my girlfriend and I decided to make a day of it and hit a shopping mall and have lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack (yummy).

When we arrived I was not disappointed, the freezers were stocked with everything: alligator, antelope, buffalo, elk, ostrich, kobe beef, fois gras and the list goes on. I opted to buy quite a few of these meats since I’m such a daring cook and not afraid to try new things. In the future I will bring these dishes to you, so stay tuned! But tonight we cook elk which is a naturally lean alternative to mainstream meats, very low in fat and cholesterol. Elk is referred to as “Red Deer” and is very similar to beef, although it has yet to be generally accepted in steak houses and restaurants. Supermarkets are also reluctant to stock up on elk meat. It’s often served as a rare exotic dish and is mostly popular among meat lovers. The elk from Fossil Farms is all natural and never fed any growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The taste of it was savory, and the flavor was pretty close to venison but slightly more “gamey” — although my raspberry wine sauce quickly tamed it! I braised carrots and asparagus in kobe beef stock and served it all up with wild rice. Yummy dish!

Elk Tenderloin with Raspberry Wine Sauce

Antelope Burger with Pineapple/Ginger Sauce

“Gamey” flavor just refers to the wild taste that game, like deer or elk, has. It is a stronger, tangy, earthy flavor that  is very difficult to describe if you haven’t tasted it. Although wild game is lower in fat than grocery store meat, that doesn’t make it taste gamey. Also, although wild game tends to be tougher, because the animals get more exercise, that doesn’t make it taste gamey either. Gamey flavor comes from the fact that the animals in the wild eat a very varied diet of weeds, acorns, wood bark, etc. This flavors the meat distinctively. Since we are used to eating meat that is grain fed, which has a much milder flavor. Game meat tastes strange to us now.

Watch for future game meat coming from Gourmet De-Constructed. If you’re interested in purchasing wild game from Fossil Farms you can visit the website if you are in the tri-state area take a drive into New Jersey. They are located at 81 Fulton St., Boonton, NJ.

Venison Cutlets with Cranberry/Merlot sauce, Fingerling Potatoes Roasted in Thyme & Rendered Duck fat
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