Today, I have another guest on my blog, Gene Stark from Fly Over Country. He has written several books inspired by living in Central Minnesota, including Water and Dirt, Flyover Seasons, and Deep Tracks to Follow. He is an organic farmer, hunter, and fisherman. Today’s recipe comes from his own experiences.
Venison Fajitas-An Oportunivore’s Delight
Whether we are vegetarians, carnivores, or omnivores, we all need to become a bit more ‘oportunivore.’ Eating local food is often an exercise in opportunism. Out here in my little chunk of flyover country, if it grows here, lives on my land, or migrates through the area, it is eligible to be invited in for dinner. Fresh vegetables and fruits come in wondrous succession from May until November, and canned, frozen, and stored produce is available all winter. An incredible array of wild game and fish are harvested as well.
I recall a day last summer, when one of our employees, on her way to work, spotted a snapping turtle crossing the gravel road she was traveling. She stopped, picked the turtle up by its tail (a wise method of picking up a snapping turtle) and popped it into her trunk. Her dinner menu was instantly planned for the next two days.
White-tailed deer are a very common and available species. Many dishes, including fajitas, can be built around venison. I tend to keep recipes very simplistic and subjective to the tastes of the chef. I begin with any nice cut of venison and trim off all fat. I then slice the meat into thin strips. Next, mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Crush a clove of fresh garlic and stir it into the marinade. Add just a bit of brown sugar and stir the strips of meat into the concoction and allow it to marinate for a couple of hours. The marinade flavors and tenderizes the meat.
Slice up enough onion and sweet pepper to go with the amount of meat you are preparing. In winter the onions come from my cool storage, and the peppers are frozen from the previous summer. I use green, red, or yellow pepper.
After the meat has marinated, simply drop the whole works into a hot caste-iron pan and sauté. When the meat has cooked a bit, add the onion and pepper to the frying pan. It’s a simple one pan meal. Cook until it is as done as you prefer and serve in tortillas. Serve along with your favorite fajita condiments: beans, salad, and salsa. A glass of homemade or other local red wine completes the meal nicely. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to walk outside and check to see what might be for dinner. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Thanks, Gene, that all looks and sounds delicious. The best food for us is what we can find in our own backyard!