A twist on the chicken-fried steak familiar throughout the South (likely first introduced to Texas as Schnitzel by German immigrants in the 1800’s) , this decidedly delicious comfort food favors lean, wild venison over cube steak and adds dried herbs, fresh sage and bacon. The result is surprisingly light, crispy and deeply flavorful..
Chicken-fried Venison with Cream Gravy, Sage and Bacon
8-10 ounces wild venison backstrap (boneless loin, similar in texture to filet mignon but much more flavorful)
2-3 strips bacon
1/4 cup (loose) fresh sage leaves
beef tallow (flavor neutral) for frying
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons organic, whole wheat flour, divided (sprouted flour preferred)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dried grilling spices (thyme, rosemary, garlic, etc.), crushed
1 pastured egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons pastured butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the backstrap into equal portions of about 4-5 ounces each. Place between pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound evenly into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and allow to stand 10 minutes on an absorbent surface.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the foam subsides, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and stir continuously until a thick paste is formed and the flour has lost its “raw” taste, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock and buttermilk and bring to a boil then immediately lower to a simmer. Whisk in cream and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Combine 1/2 cup flour, paprika and dry spices in a bowl or on a plate large enough to hold the pounded venison. Crack the egg into another bowl and whisk with 1/3 cup milk.
Dredge the venison in flour, shake of the excess then dip into the egg wash. Hold over the bowl to drain for a moment, then dredge in the flour a second time. Transfer the breaded venison to a plate and allow to stand 10 minutes.
Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp then add the sage leaves and fry about 1 minute. Transfer bacon and sage to the side to drain for a moment, then chop coarsely and keep warm.
Add enough tallow to the pan so the the melted volume is about 1/4 inch thick and heat to about 350 degrees. Carefully lay the breaded venison in the pan and shallow fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to the side to drain for a moment, then position on a dinner plate. Spoon gravy over the top, dress with bacon and sage and serve immediately.
The primary diet of axis deer is grass, and they will graze on new weeds and forbs. When grass is not in sufficient quantity, they may browse. Axis graze successfully on native Texas grasses such as curly-mesquite, Indian-grass, side oats grama, big and little bluestem. They do well on improved grasses, such as Klein. Seasonally, they do well on winter wheat. Browse species include live oak and hackberry. Mast includes acorns and mushrooms.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday!