Whip up a Surf ‘n Turf Combo with Venison Shrimp Ankara

One of the coolest combos in food history is the good ol’ surf and turf, the delightful mashup of meat and seafood that has incredible variety.

Maybe some pork chops and scallops. Or maybe some mahi mahi and stir fry chicken. Or, perhaps we’ll just stick with the tried and true: red meat and shrimp.

Most surf ‘n turf combos involve beef, but this super dish from our pals at Food for Hunters is a doozy. Rick Wheatley and Jenny Nguyen have combined venison with shrimp for this delicious Venison Shrimp Ankara.

This one may be a smidge more involved with the prep work but that’s part of the fun of cooking, isn’t it?

Rick and Jen say this kebab dish has a Turkish twist, and “are packed with tons of flavor – cumin, cilantro, red onion, and garlic … they will give your summer night dinners that extra kick. Coupled with a spicy Red Harissa Sauce borrowed from Bon Appetit‘s featured Chef Silvena Rowe, these kebabs are dynamite.”

Son! That should make you want to fire up the grill right now, but they’ve also added shrimp in the recipe! A little surf ‘n turf for a summer night!

Venison and Shrimp Ankara

Makes: About 14 kebabs
– 1 1/4 lbs ground venison
– 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 cup of red onion, coarsely grated
– 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
– 1 tsp. ground cumin
– 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
–  1 lb. shrimp, deveined, peeled and roughly chopped
– olive oil, for brushing
-extra wide Popsicle sticks
Red Harissa Sauce: makes 3 cups
– 3 large red bell peppers
– 2 1/2 tbs. white wine vinegar
– 4 garlic cloves, crushed
– 2 red jalepenos
– 1 tsp. ground cumin
– 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra to taste
– 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus extra to taste
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Red Harissa Sauce
1. Roast the red bell peppers directly over a gas flame, turning occasionally to get them charred all over. Roasting peppers really helps to release flavors, and gives a smoky taste.
2. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  This will steam the peppers and make them easier to peel.
3. With a knife, scrape off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds.
4. Seed and chop the jalapenos. Crush the garlic.
5. Except the extra-virgin olive oil, put all the other ingredients in a food processor. Puree until very smooth.
With the machine still running, slowly add in the oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
* Store in fridge until ready to use. Freeze extra.

II. The Kebabs

1. In a large bowl, combine peeled, deveined and chopped shrimp and ground venison.

2. Using mortar and pestle, or anything you can find, further crush the minced garlic and 1 tsp. of kosher salt together into a paste. I just did the best I could with my knife.

3. Add the garlic paste, remaining 1 tsp. of kosher salt, onion, cilantro, cumin, pepper flakes, black pepper to the venison and shrimp. Combine well.

4. Press the mixture onto popsicle sticks. Try not to overload. The meat may be too heavy and fall off. It can be a little tricky, since ground venison doesn’t have much fat in it, but with some finessing, it will work. You just have to be extra careful.

5. Prepare your grill. For a charcoal grill use a medium-hot fire. If you’re using a gas grill, use high heat and don’t walk away.

6. Brush kebabs with olive oil and place on grill. Grill until nicely charred and just cooked through. About 6 minutes each side.

7. Serve hot with Red Harissa Sauce. We suggest having this dish with couscous and Greek salad. Enjoy!



Our great project between Rick and Jen and F+W Media, our parent company, for their super new wild game cookbook is ready for the big spotlight.

Hunting for Food:  A Guide to Harvesting Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game is available now for pre-order at ShopDeerHunting.com and will be released in July 2015.

“Hunting for Food” is 175 pages covering 13 species, with great cooking preparation photos and super recipes. Begin with detailed instructions on the best practices for hunting different types of game, including coverage of how to find or attract the game you’re looking to hunt, best times for hunting, and the gear you’ll need to be successful.

Once you’ve successfully completed a hunt, then what? This complete field-to-table guide also includes information on field dressing and processing wild game, as well as recipe cooking instructions for preparing it. Processing and preparation instructions cover a wide variety of game, including fish, fowl and small game, as well as deer and wild hog. Order Hunting for Food now.