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Winning Recipes in the 2009 Venison Culinary Competition

Written on: 04/21/2009 15:25 by: Chris Weidner        
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Student Chefs Compete in Venison Cooking Competition
By Laurie Prasnicki
Executive Director of the Cervid Livestock Foundation

The excitement of the students was an obvious observation at the recent venison culinary competition as the students competed for cash prizes totaling over $2000. Students from the Sullivan University Arts Program recently tested their cooking skills in the second annual venison culinary competition hosted by the Cervid Livestock Foundation (CLF), the research and educational foundation of the North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA). This event was scheduled in conjunction with the NADeFA’s annual convention held in Lexington, Kentucky on March 5, 2009.

The competition was limited to six teams comprised of two or three students, each having three hours to plan and prepare two courses, one appetizer and one entrée, incorporating venison as the primary protein source in the entrée. Cash awards were given to the top teams on Friday evening at the NADeFA conference.

Dr. Brad Thurston, a board member of the CLF and NADeFA, said the competition is held each year to promote the use of venison as a heart-healthy food; low in fat and cholesterol. Dr. Thurston was also privileged to serve as one of the judges for the competition.

A goal of the CLF is to educate future chefs about the nutritional and dietary benefits of venison. By sponsoring these events, future chefs are introduced to the venison industry and will take with them a unique experience of cooking with venison when entering into the restaurant profession.

The winners of the competition are as follows:

  • 1st place – Ryan Laudenschlager and De’Andre Taley
  • 2nd place – Todd Jackson, Matt Starling and Buddy Hasting
  • 3rd place – Marty Harper, Jane Thompson and Brian Stephens

The CLF gives special thanks to Chef John Foster, instructor at the Sullivan University, and Sue Michael, Director of Admissions at the Sullivan University, for a job well done coordinating the cooking event.

Sponsors for this cooking event include the Exotic Wildlife Association and Broken Arrow Ranch, both from the state of Texas, for providing the venison used in the competition.

The following individuals who sponsored the cash awards for the winners of the competition:

  • 1st place – Dr. Brad and Susan Thurston of Luke’s Run, Indiana
  • 2nd place – anonymous donor
  • 3rd place – John Behrmann of Highbourne Deer Farm, Pennsylvania
  • 4th – 6th place – Brian Cahill of Dream Chaser Farm, Pennsylvania; Dr. Sam Vainisi of Eaton Highland Farm, Wisconsin; Joel Espe of Hawks Hill Elk Farm, Wisconsin.


Winning Recipes in the 2009 2nd Annual Venison Culinary Competition

Venison sausage and arugula salad in parmesan crisp
Venison chops with Madeira sauce, wild mushroom and asiago risotto, and broccolini

Venison Sausage
2 lb. venison shoulder
1 lb. pork loin
1 lb. fatback
1.5 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. juniper berries
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 T fresh sage mince
1.5 oz salt
Combine all ingredients except salt and chill well. Grind all ingredients through fine plate of meat grinder.  Rinse sheep casings.  Pipe sausage into casings.  Poach sausage until internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Arugula Salad
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot
2 oz. white truffle oil
4 oz. extra virgin or salad oil
2 oz. white wine vinegar
2 oz. dried cherries
Salt and pepper to taste
Arugula as needed
3 oz. Madeira wine
Pour 2 oz. of white wine vinegar into medium bowl with 1 shallot and let stand together.  Reconstitute 2 oz. cherries in 3 oz. Madeira wine.  Mince 2 garlic cloves and add to shallot and vinegar.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Aggressively whisk in both the white truffle oil and extra virgin or salad oil.  Adjust seasoning accordingly.  Plate arugula on serving plate; top with cherries, vinaigrette, and parmesan crisp.

Parmesan Crisp
2 cups Parmesan cheese grated
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Spoon mixture onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake in 350 oven for 8-10 minutes.

Venison Chops w/ Madeira Sauce and Broccolini

1 Venison rack, trimmed and frenched
½ cup Madeira
½ cup Veal stock
4 oz butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Broccolini trimmed and blanched
Truffle Vinaigrette as needed
Sear venison rack in medium sauté pan.  Finish in oven to desired doneness.  Deglaze sauté pan with Madeira wine and reduce by half.  Add veal stock as needed and finish with butter as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss warm broccolini with truffle vinaigrette.

Wild Mushroom and Asiago Risotto

2 cups Arborio Rice
8-10 cups chicken stock
1 garlic clove minced
1 shallot minced
2 oz. Asiago cheese grated
3 oz. Shittake mushroom
3 oz. Oyster mushroom
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat chicken stock.  Sweat garlic and shallot.  Add rice and sauté.  Add a little of the heated stock and stir continuously until mostly absorbed.  Continue adding stock, a little at a time until the rice is tender and creamy.  Sauté mushrooms in separate pan.  Fold asiago and mushrooms into risotto.  Season with salt and pepper.

Porcini Crusted Venison Carpaccio – serves 4
6 oz. venison loin
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, ground
2 T clarified butter
3 cups arugula
8 leaves basil
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts
2 T parmesan cheese
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T white wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
Roasted golden beets
1 T sherry vinegar
1 T olive oil
Porcini oil for drizzling

  • Roast beets with sherry vinegar and olive oil for 1 hour and cool, then cut into small dice
  • Clean loin and brush with oil and roll in ½ c. ground, dried porcini mushrooms
  • Sear the loin on high heat in a pan with clarified butter, cool, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 1 hour
  • Heat 3 dried porcini mushrooms in ¼ cup of salad oil to 140 degrees and let cool to room temperature, strain and reserve oil for garnish (store in refrigerator if there is extra)

Make Dressing:

  • Make pesto in the blender with ingredients 5-11, then add to simple vinaigrette (1 T white wine vinegar, and 3 T olive oil)

Finish Carpaccio:

  • Slice venison paper thin and lay in a ring on cold plates
  • Dress arugula and beets in dressing and crumble feta

Arrange arugula in the center of the venison ring and sprinkle beets and feta around, drizzle venison with porcini oil

Rack Ready Chop
3 cups Port Wine
1 cup olive oil
1 pint black berries
4 sprigs rosemary
6 cloves garlic
1 shallot
4 T olive oil for cooking

  • Mix marinade in large bowl or processor.  Set oven to 475 degrees. French and fabricate bones and allow meat to marinade for 20 minutes.  Heat rondo and add oil sear chops about 8-10 minutes for good sear and color.  Finish in the oven until meat is firm and springs back a bit.  Pull from oven and allow to rest covered in a warm place for 4 minutes.

3 green apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
1 head nappa cabbage (thin slice green leaves)
1 fennel bulb (cored and sliced)
1 carrot (peeled battonette)
1 cup Mayo (2 yolks, 1 ½ c salad oil, 2 tsp. dry mustard, 1 ½ tsp. lemon juice)
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 T fennel leaves (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Mayo – add yolks to mixing bowl; add a bit of oil first slowly while vigorously whisking to make initial emulsion.  Add a bit of your mustard and acid to stabilize.  Then proceed to add the oil in a slow stream until desired consistency is reached.
  • Cut vegetables into strips.  Toss with mayo and spices and acids to make slaw.

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato (bat)
1 bottle Canada dry
3 cups rice flour
½ cup smoked paprika
1 qt. frying oil

  • Heat frying oil to 375 degrees.  Peel and cut sweet potatoes to proper size.  Blend soda water, flour, and paprika together to make tempura batter.  Blanch the cut potatoes for 1 minute and then strain and cool.  Once cool set potatoes in batter and begin to fry in hot oil.

Sweet Pea
4 cups frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups sweet basil
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Defrost frozen peas and simmer in the chicken stock for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool before puree.  De-stem basil and add it to the pea stock mix and puree until smooth.  Then run through china cap to remove chunks.  Whisk cream in and season to taste.  Prepare for service and hold in a squeeze bottle.

Aurgula Salad with Bacon Apple Vinaigrette

6 oz. bacon
2 apples of choice
Half cup walnuts
8 oz. of goat cheese
1 bulb of garlic
1 bunch of thyme
1 shallot
Arugula as needed (about 4 cups)
3 eggs
4 tsp. black pepper
Half tsp. star anise
1 cup of sherry vinegar
1 cup apple juice
1 venison tenderloin
Slow roast venison tenderloin at 150 degrees.  Time depends on size of portion and wellness desired – rare, medium, medium well or well done.  Cook to temps in the 120 range for rare and up to 175 for well done.Take the bacon; render the fat in a sauté pan; strain grease from meat; set asideTake the thyme; remove the leaves from stem; fine dice on the shallotShred the apples on a box grater; put into water and set asideTake roasted garlic; mix with goat cheese to taste to make fumageIn a mixing bowl, take the shallot apple thyme, add 2 T sherry vinegar and apple juice to tasteHeat up bacon fat to a liquid; add to the mixture of herbs and apples; whisk until combinedTake walnuts and egg whites; combine until glazed and bake in the oven at 325 until crispTake arugula – wash and dry it; place on plate with cheese mixture; toss with walnuts and put the vinegar on topTake slow roasted tenderloin and sear cut; place on top of salad

Venison Parmesan
4 six oz portions of venison
¾ cup fine breadcrumbs
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cup tomato sauce
24 oz. diced tomatoes
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Place each piece of venison between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.  Flatten each with a meat mallet to approx. ¼ inch thickness.  Combine breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.  Dip venison in beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs.  Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and sauté in oil on medium heat 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Remove venison from skillet and place in baking dish.  Spoon sauce and diced tomatoes over venison.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the venison pieces.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts and sauce is bubbly.

Place over cooked spaghetti noodles for serving.


For Information visit the Cervid Livestock Foundation.

* The North American Deer Farmer’s Association is an association representing an industry that has an annual economic impact on this nation’s economy of $3 billion. NADeFA is a political voice for approximately 15,000 deer breeders, ranchers and farmers across the nation. They represent the deer industry by working closely with state and federal legislators and regulatory agencies to develop rules and regulations that govern the deer industry. NADeFA is dedicated to the promotion of deer farming and ranching as an agricultural pursuit and serves its members through its educational programs, publications and by providing leadership in setting and maintaining quality standards.



Author:wohalliburton Comment Left:04/30/2009 09:37

Arugula must be the new 'thing'...3 out of the 4 top recipies use it.