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This quick and easy fallow deer recipe is a great way to cook up venison steaks that are full of flavour. Recipe by Ollie Craig.
Fallow Deer are found throughout New Zealand with herds both on private and public land ranging from north of Auckland all the way down to Southland.
They are the second most popular deer species hunted in New Zealand after Red Deer. I am lucky enough to have access to a private block where I hunt Fallow Deer on a regular basis as it is my main meat supply and protein source along with the fish I obtain while spearfishing.
Fallow is a milder tasting meat than Red Deer and in my opinion much nicer and more tender.
The meat for this meal came from a hunt a few months back where I shot a beautiful big hind, which I had chilled for two weeks before processing into mince, a few roasts, big back steaks for the BBQ and all the extras cut into small steaks ready for a quick BBQ or fry-up. One afternoon while helping a friend process a fallow he had shot recently I realised I had not eaten venison in a few weeks and had the urge to eat some immediately. I got one of the random vacuum sealed bags out of the freezer and chucked it in the sink with some hot water to defrost quickly as I was hungry. I usually keep my venison cooking simple as it is a more mild meat and I absolutely love the flavour, usually just cooking with some butter and salt. Just as I was about to cook it as usual, another friend sent me a picture of his Fallow Deer he had just cooked up. With him being an ex-chef, it looked incredible. I decided to get creative and it paid off.
Venison back steak or Rear leg meat (Fallow) but Red Deer will be fine.
Salt and Pepper
To start, you need to marinate the venison.
Either slice the back steak into roughly 1- 1 1/2cm thick pieces or if like me I had random chopped pieces of rear leg muscle at the same thickness.
Finely chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.
Place the venison into a bowl and throw in the garlic. Add roughly 3-4 spoons of soy sauce, a good sprinkle of ground coriander, salt and pepper then mix together. Leave this to marinate for a minimum of 30 mins in the fridge.
Prepare the toppings for the venison. Finely chop a handful of jalapenos and sit aside.
Finely dice 2 onions, and add to a pan on low to medium heat with plenty of olive oil and Butter. Let these slowly cook. The longer and slower the better, which will bring out the sweetness and flavour of the onion.
Once onion is translucent and fully cooked, turn heat to high, add two spoons of sugar and a good squirt of balsamic vinegar, mixing until all onions are caramelized.Turn Onions pan onto low and set aside.
Prepare another pan on high heat. You want the pan HOT as it's all about searing venison and browning off to get the best flavour. We want to have the Venison cooked perfectly inside which in my opinion is rare/medium rare.
Add a good squirt of olive oil and a good hunk of butter to the pan. Once sizzling hot, add the marinated venison pieces. Crucial here is to not over cook the venison otherwise it will taste like liver.
Once seared on one side, flip over and once you start to see the blood surfacing, remove from the pan and let sit on a plate or chopping board.
I like to now slice the pieces of meat in half then place on a serving board or plate.
Next, lightly salt the venison, add the caramelized onions on top, then sprinkle with the chopped jalapenos.
The end result is lovely, tender, juicy Fallow Deer pieces which melt in your mouth mixed with the sweetness of the caramelised onions and the kick of the jalapenos. If jalapenos are not your thing then you could substitute for something like crispy shallots.