Monday, December 13, 2010

LEFTOVER VENISON? COOK UP A HEARTY VENISON AND LENTIL CASSEROLE.

This is hunting season in Texas and, by custom, a lot of deer are being killed. Strangely enough, it seems that there is more venison meat available than people who want to take the trouble to prepare and serve it. Or perhaps the greater problem is the butchering. Almost no one does their own butchering any more, and the cost of having it done at the butcher shop is a little high. That's really a shame - considering that venison is really a delicious meat.

This past Friday a friend called me. She was frantic. She told me that she had a whole deer that had been given to her by a hunter. It was already butchered but she didn't know how she could use all of it up. I went over to her house this past weekend and helped her bake, stew and make tamales -really yummy ones - out of the venison. We ate several great meals from our culinary efforts on Saturday and Sunday. But, as is often the case, there was leftover meat. She offered me some leftover meat to take home last night (along with about 20 tamales)and, of course, I was more than willing to accept the food.
Today I made a great cassarole dish out of leftover venison that you might like to try. Here it is.

VENISON AND LENTIL CASSEROLE
Ingredients
One cup leftover, cooked venison
1 TBS. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 TBS. chili powder
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 TBS finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 tsp. wine vinegar
About a quart of meat or vegetable stock.
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
2. Fry onions, garlic and green pepper just a few minutes.
3. Stir in lentils, tomato sauce, vinegar, cilantro, and seasonings.
4. Add about 3 cups of stock.
5. Bring up to boil, then reduce heat to low.
6. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring at intervals until lentils and veggies are well cooked. (If lentils are drying out before being cooked through, add more stock.)

Served with a green salad with cubed cheese or sliced hard boiled eggs, along with whole grain bread, you'll have a hearty dinner for four people.

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