Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Venison Medallions & Wild Mushroom Risotto

Tonight I prepared dinner using some venison that my husband actually got during the last hunting season. I've been going through the freezers trying to rotate older things to the front/top, newer things behind/down. I always enjoy getting a good deal on things and stocking up...but I guess I find too many deals. (Plus, I like to cook without having to defrost...I sometimes have a hard time with that advanced preparation thing.) Both of these recipes came from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking. I changed the venison sauce from cranberry to wild mushroom because, well, I had the mushrooms for the rice and I wanted to use up the demi-glaze in the fridge.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

2/3 c dried porcini mushrooms
4 c chicken broth
2 T olive oil
2 T finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt & Pepper

Place the mushroom in a bowl with 1 1/2 c lukewarm water and let soak about 20-30 minutes. Remove mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Squeeze the mushrooms dry and chop them. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer. Reserve 1/2 c for the risotto. Save the remaining for the venison sauce.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the broth. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1 T olive oil. Add the shallot and saute until translucent - about 2 minutes. Add the reaming oil and stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the rice is evenly coated with the oil and the grains turn translucent at the edges, about 1 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed.

Add 1/2 cup of the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just moist. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, always waiting until the rice is just moist before adding more. After 2 cups broth have been used, add the 1/2 cup mushroom soaking liquid and the chopped mushrooms. When the liquid is almost fully absorbed, resume adding the broth.

The risotto is ready when it is creamy and slightly soupy and the kernels are tender but still slightly firm at the center, about 35 minutes after the first addition of broth. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste, and season with pepper. Divide evenly among warmed wide, shallow bowls or among warmed plates and serve at once.

Venison Medallions

1 venison tenderloin
1 T beef demi-glaze
1 c soaking liquid from porcini mushrooms
1/4 white wine
salt and pepper

Season tenderloin and brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add liquid and deglaze pan. Reduce liquid by a third and add demi-glaze. Reduce until slightly thickened. Slice venison and add to sauce. Cook about 3/4 minutes more. Serve with sauce.

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