A great venison roast or other deer goodies is a joy to prepare and eat during and after the season, but it’s always good to have some scrumptious side dishes with it.
My wife and I were late to the game but we got turned on to roasted vegetables last summer. I guess that’s been a “thing” for a while but we didn’t really know about it or how easy it is to make them. Our first efforts were with Brussels sprouts, which I know a lot of folks dislike. But we love the rich flavor they impart and, with a little olive oil and salt or herbs, they’ve added to our meal options along with being a healthy snack.
We’ve also roasted carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, white and red potatoes, celery and cauliflower. One of the keys, in my humble non-chef opinion, is to have them cut up into equal size so they cook evenly. A giant knob of broccoli or cauliflower still will be cooking while the smaller pieces could be burned. Make sure they’re roughly the same size.
I’d never thought of roasted okra until last year when I was in Louisiana for an outdoor writer’s conference. One of our guest speakers in Lake Charles was Poppy Tooker, a longtime chef, author, TV and radio host, and ambassador for New Orleans, gumbo, Louisiana, hunting, fishing and a general enjoy yourself in life attitude. She was a hoot. She also told us about roasting okra, how easy it was, how she added some roasted spears to her gumbo to add flavor depth without the slime, and how they were great appetizers for parties or get-togethers.
When I got home, the first thing I did was get a bag of 3-inch spears (avoid the giant ones!) and roast them in the oven. Our 16-year old okra-avoiding son asked what they were and I told him. He tried one, then ate the entire pan of them. Wiped out a pan of roasted okra. Fine with me, though. We now make them pretty regularly and they’re enjoyed quite well.
Don’t Forget the Cooler!
Hunting seasons are here now for big and small game, upland birds, waterfowl and so forth, which means we’re traveling more and bringing home deer meat, ducks and other great game animals.
Make sure your successful hunting trip stays that way with a great ice chest that keeps things cold. Our crew has tried the Engel Deep Blue rotomolded coolers, which have numerous design features, and they’re good to go. They’re tough as nails, come in five sizes and will prove to be a great investment for your hunting trips, family outings and other needs. Check them out here.
— Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
Below is a recipe for oven roasted okra from the GameandGarden.com site of Stacy Harris, who has a great selection of cookbooks here, here and here in ShopDeerHunting.com along with a cool DVD. Harris uses the okra from her family’s bountiful garden for several dishes and enjoys roasting them, too. They are not slimy, so get that “Ewwww, icky slimy gooey!” notion out of your melon. Give ’em a try.
- 1 pound young okra (less than 3 inches)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss okra in olive oil to coat. Combine all dry spices and toss with okra.
- Place okra onto a sheet pan in a single layer.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes and turn okra over onto the other side. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until pods are softened.
Add these roasted okra pods and other veggies to this fantastic venison tenderloin dolled up by Scott Leysath, whose Better Venison Cookbook is part of this fantastic kit. It includes more than 600 recipes, tips, preparation hints and the best ideas for your kitchen. Be sure to check it out, and remember that Christmas is coming soon, too. It makes a fantastic gift.
Stuffed Venison Tenderloin
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 deer tenderloins, silver skin removed
salt and pepper
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
butcher string or wooden skewers
Lightly brown bacon in a skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until mushrooms are softened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Allow to cool. Butterfly tenderloins, leaving a “hinge” on one side, a lay flat. Season inside with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on one side. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cream cheese. Spread bacon/mushroom mixture over cream cheese.
Fold outer edges over and roll tightly like a burrito. Tie with string or secure with wooden skewers. Rub outside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown evenly on all sides, but not past medium-rare. Allow meat to rest for a few minutes, remove string and slice into medallions.
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