Don’t say “farm to table” unless you really mean it! For those who practice the age-old survival methods of foraging and hunting (now vastly more fun as a hobby than as a matter of life and death), there is food writer Susan L. Ebert’s new cookbook. If you’re looking to discover your inner outdoorsy side, pick a recipe and a gun, rod or sturdy pair of gardening gloves, and get ready to cook from scratch.
I developed this recipe for an Axis deer, classified as an exotic species, as are fallow deer
and other non-native cervids; they are legal game throughout the year. They are also incredibly tasty. The key to this roast — as it is with prime beef — is the dry-aging process.
- 1 (8-rib) venison roast, about 2 pounds
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 to 8 ribs celery, to make a roast holder
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the roast
Two days before cooking, thaw a frozen rib roast in the refrigerator.
The next day, pat the roast dry with paper towels, place it on a rack over a small pan to catch the drips, and return to the refrigerator, uncovered, to dry-age for at least 24 hours.
One hour prior to cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
Make the chimichurri sauce: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and process until somewhat smooth, but retaining a bit of texture. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you begin roasting the meat. Serve at room temperature. Yields about 2 cups.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat the rib roast with a bit of oil, and salt and pepper it. In a cast-iron skillet large enough that the roast doesn’t touch the sides, over medium-high heat, lightly sear all surfaces, using tongs to turn the meat and to hold it in place while searing.
Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside. Fashion a rack with the celery ribs in the skillet, to hold the roast, so that no part of the meat is touching the cast iron.
Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the roast reads 125°F. Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve into two rib sections, and serve with the chimichurri sauce.