VENISON STEAKS, ONION APPLE RELISH & SMASHED GARLIC POTATOES
Thanks to the primal prowess of my father, I was lucky enough to recently receive a package of venison steaks. I don’t cook steaks much to begin with, let alone those of wild game, but thanks to consultation with a pro (Dad), and trust in my intuition, these were perfect. As with any nice cut of meat, simplicity is key, and apples couldn’t be a better match for deer meat.
Keeping it old school, I also made roast potatoes to go with. Smashing the potatoes half way through cooking increases their surface area and encourages crisping, plus they’re more able to absorb the garlic and rosemary. First, place potatoes in a pot of cold, salted water. Bring it to a boil and cook for 6ish minutes. Then transfer to a baking sheet and coat in some fat (I used lard, but ghee/chicken or duck fat would be great). Season with salt and pepper and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. When the 20 is up, remove the pan from the oven and smash each potato to bust it open and flatten slightly. Now sprinkle generously with minced garlic and rosemary. Drizzle them again with a bit more oil, or, to keep them more baked potato-y, don’t. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes, or until they’re totally tender and start to brown nicely.
Meanwhile, start working on the apple onion accompaniment for the steaks. Slice 1 small white onion and sauté with a bit of ghee. Once tender, cover with 1 1/2 c apple sauce. Simmer on a med-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced significantly and is very thick.
Now for the steaks. Save these for last, as they only take a few minutes. Pat them dry with paper towel. Getting them as dry as possible is important for searing the meat. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and maple sugar. Heat 2 t ghee in a cast iron pan; when very hot, add the steaks. These were quite thin, and I knew they’d be best medium-rare, so I flipped them after only 2 minutes on the first side. Just before you turn them, add a clove of garlic to the pan - it will infuse the oil with flavor. Cook another 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on the second side, then remove from the heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve alongside the smashed potatoes and enjoy topped with apple onion relish.