The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

SCHMITT: "Hunting Season!"


11-6-2017 Column

It is deer hunting season here in central Minnesota. (Archery season for deer until the 15th of January in Illinois).

We generally don’t have much luck in “bagging a big one”.

We see enough deer throughout the year. We watch them graze on the alfalfa fields and roam through the corn fields all summer long. Then when the calendar says it is time to hunt, they disappear.

Now to be honest, I’m ok with that. I really don’t like to eat venison but I have a bunch of boys who love it. If they enjoy eating it, then I’ll find ways of making it.

Friday night before the hunting opener we had a couple of things happen. It snowed and the silo unloader broke down. Perfect timing. Since we couldn’t mix feed in the morning until the part was repaired, Austin could slip out to the deer stand.

Since it snowed all Friday night, the deer were hungry and waiting to slip out in the early morning light to grab a bite to eat. Austin spied a doe crossing his path in the early morning light. BANG! He dropped her with one shot. I didn’t realize his “success” until I came home from the parts run in Sauk Centre.

As I scoured through the refrigerator for a bite to eat, I spied one of my silver mixing bowls holding a fresh heart. I guess I needed to start cooking up venison.

Now I’m not a big fan of venison. I would much rather eat beef but Mark and boys assure the venison tastes just like beef. At least it doesn’t taste like chicken!

Since I don’t eat venison I have to rely on feedback from the crew. This recipe I found in the Joy of Cooking Cookbook. It was a hit. Not a single leftover.

Of course, apples and onions are the secret ingredients in removing a “gamey” taste in anything.

Venison Heart with Apple- Onion Dressing

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Clean heart well.
Dry and place on a rack in a roasting pan.
Pour over it: 2 c. stock or diluted tomato soup
Place 4 slices of bacon over the heart
Cover dish closely and bake until tender. (Beef 3-4 hours. Veal/Deer about 2 hours)

Remove heart to a plate and pour off any liquids in pan. Place dressing in bottom of pan and return heart to the pan on top of dressing. Sprinkle with extra paprika. Cover.

Return to a 400 degree oven long enough to heat quickly before serving.

Dressing (Makes 12 cups):

Place in boiling water for 5 minutes:
1 c. raisins. (I omit the raisins because Austin doesn’t like them)
Drain well. Add them to: 7 c. soft bread crumbs
Melt: ¾ c. butter

Sauté in butter for 3 minutes:
1 c. chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
1 c. chopped celery

Add these ingredients to the bread crumbs with:
3 c. diced tart apples
¼ c. finely chopped parsley
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika

Mix and place in bottom of roasting pan. Place heart on top of dressing and place back in the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes to heat through.

One year I wanted to do something different for Thanksgiving dinner. I found Irene’s recipe for Smoked Turkey in our church cookbook. It was a hit. The smokey flavor almost made the turkey taste like ham. Even the white meat was moist! Great leftovers.

Smoked Turkey

Irene Marsolek

Brine Mixture
1 gallon water
½ c. canning salt
1 c. Tender Quick (in spice aisle)
4 -5 tsp liquid smoke

Mix well. Place thawed turkey in brine for 24 hours in a cool place. Turkey must be completely covered with brine.

You might need to put a plate on top of the bird to keep it submerged in the brine. A food type 5 gallon bucket is perfect.

Wipe dry, then oil skin with cooking oil.

Place turkey breast down in a baking pan, add a little water to bottom of pan and cover with tin foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour then reduce heat to 300 degrees until done.

As the weather starts to chill down, I like to warm up with these two treats. Even better to share them with a friend and a hot conversation to chase the winter blahs away.

Russian Tea Mix

1 ½ c. Tang
2/3 c. instant tea
½ c. Country Time Lemonade mix
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine ingredients. Store in air tight container.

Mix a couple of TBSP of tea mix to 1 c. hot water.

Hot Chocolate Mix

1 lb Nestle Quick
1 c. powdered sugar
8 qts Carnation dry milk
6 oz coffee creamer (try different flavors!)
½ c. cocoa powder

Mix ingredients together and store in air tight container.

Mix ¼ c. of mixture with 1 c. hot water.

As their four children pursue dairy careers off the farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota. (Natalie grew up in Stronghurst, the daughter of Becky and the late Larry Dowell.)