SMOKEY STUFFED VENISON
Whether it's a special holiday meal or a fancy weeknight dinner, stuffing a wild backstrap or tenderloin makes a beautiful crowd-pleasing presentation and keeps the lean cut of meat moist. Because everyone has their own favorite stuffing recipe, the substitutions and variations of Smokey Stuffed Venison are endless. Just make sure there's a generous amount of added fat, ie. bacon or sausage with pan drippings can be used instead of butter. The recipe featured here is using a portion of elk backstrap. Adjust stuffing volume to accommodate larger or smaller cuts of wild game as necessary.
1-2 pound wild game backstrap
1/2 cup butter
1 diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup minced carrot
1/4 finely chopped kale or spinach
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
2 cups dried bread cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 oven roasting bag
Trim all silver skin from backstrap.
Using a large knife, butterfly backstrap to a 1-inch thickness.
Place wax paper over backstrap and pound meat to about 1/2 inch thickness using the smooth side of a meat mallet.
Even thickness by using the waffle side of the meat mallet if necessary. Sprinkle backstrap with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-high heat. Caramelize onions 5-10 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, garlic, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and continue to saute an additional 5 minutes. Add cherries or cranberries, carrot, kale or spinach, sauteing and additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in broth, bread crumbs and beaten egg, gently mixing to combine.
Place an oven-safe cooking bag in a casserole pan and sprinkle the bottom portion with 1 tablespoon of flour.
Spread stuffing evenly over butterflied backstrap.
Roll backstrap up and truss with kitchen twine.
Place trussed backstrap in oven bag. Secure the bag using enclosed oven-safe twist ties. Cut six 1/2 inch slits in the top of the bag so the steam can escape.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven 45 minutes or until backstrap temperature reaches 155 degrees on an internal thermometer. (Bag may be opened during the last 10 minutes of cooking time to brown the top.) Let backstrap rest 10 minutes before slicing into portions and serving.
Recipe by: Tiffany Haugen