Monday, February 20, 2006

Venison Dinner Party-Intro/Part 1-Beef Stock

Saturday night I held my Third Annual Venison Extravaganza, a dinner party for a group of my friends (this year there were 11 of us!) where Roast Rack of Venison is the main event. Not something you have every day. And definitely not something you would make every day. Whew. This menu is ambitious, best to take on over a weekend. It's not that it's difficult, it's just that there are a lot of steps and you need time for preparation. You'll also probably need to hit a few different specialty stores to gather some of the hard-to-find ingredients. It's so worth all the hard work. I got a round of applause at the end of the meal so that's an indication on how much people enjoy this dinner (although that could have been the wine talking).

Following is the menu. I am dividing this posting up into 5 separate postings because the list of ingredients and instructions are long. Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions you might have. I've made this whole menu a few times now so I can probably help you out.

The Menu:

NOTE: If you would like all the recipes in the Venison Dinner Party menu in a text only format, you can download a pdf called "venisondinnerrecipes.pdf" here.

• Cheese Plate (your favorite cheese, olives, cured meats and crackers - a real crowd pleaser and great way to tide people over while the venison is cooking. Click here for cheese plate recommendations and resources.
Baked Oysters with Bacon and Leeks

Roast Rack of Venison w/ Port and Cranberry Reduction (recipe for Beef Stock needed for this recipe is featured below)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
• Steamed Green Beans (simply snip off the ends of the green beans and steam for about 10 minutes)

Homemade Beef Stock Recipe

The Venison recipe calls for homemade Beef Stock. If you're going to go to the trouble of making this dinner, may as well go the whole nine yards and make your stock from scratch as well. However, unless you get up at the crack of dawn on the day of your dinner party, you will want to make this ahead of time. You can make it as much as a week ahead of time. I highly recommend dedicating another day to it since you'll have plenty of other things to do.

Also, you will have a good amount of stock left over which is great to have around for other things like making soups, risotto, anything you need stock for. You can freeze it for about 4 months if you don't plan on using it within 3 - 4 days.

Homemade Beef Stock
This recipe is from Martha Stewart

Makes 6 quarts

8 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 sprigs fresh fresh thyme OR 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 sprigs fresh fresh rosemary OR 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 pound beef-stew meat, stew meat, cubed
5 pounds veal bones, sawed into smaller pieces (I had to go to 2 separate stores to get these. Give yourself a couple of days to hunt them down just in case. Ask your butcher to saw the veal bones into smaller pieces.)
1 large onion, peel on, quartered
2 large carrots, cut into thirds
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
2 cups dry red wine

How to:
1. Heat the oven to 450º. Make a bouquet garni by wrapping parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie with kitchen twine, and set aside. Arrange meat, veal bones, onion, carrots, and celery in an even layer in a heavy roasting pan. Roast, turning every 20 minutes, until the vegetables and the bones are deep brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the meat, bones, and vegetables to a large stockpot, and set aside. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan, and discard. Place the pan over high heat on the stove. Add wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits; boil until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour all of the liquid into the stockpot.

2. Add 6 quarts of cold water to the stockpot, or more if needed to cover bones. Do not add less water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer. Add the reserved bouquet garni. Liquid should just bubble up to surface. Skim the foam from the surface, and discard. Simmer over the lowest possible heat for 3 hours; a skin will form on the surface of the liquid; skim off with a slotted spoon, and discard. Repeat as needed. Add water if at any time the level drops below the bones.

3. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Discard the solids. Transfer the bowl to an ice bath, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Stock may be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 4 months. If storing, leave fat layer intact to seal the stock. Before using, remove the fat that has collected on the surface.


Anonymous Brother Jim said...

All that incredible detail on making Homemade Beef Stock hardly conceals the fact that there is no mention whatsoever about your spectacular bread pudding!! Couldn't do it, could you? Share the love, Sista"!!!!!

9:13 PM  
Anonymous madiera mama said...

what an undertaking for your special friends! Hope to try it someday!

9:33 PM  
Blogger xoxobono said...

It was absolutely delicious!
thanks so much for feeding us ;)

8:59 AM  
Anonymous always bring tupperware said...

Did not get to use Tupperware - there was nothing left. A real crowd pleaser. Perfect for a cold night. Not to mention the Port that Brother Jim brought. Topped it off beautifully. Hold my place at the table for next year!

12:31 PM  

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