Homemade For Goodness Sake

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Venison Roll-Ups

CA Simonson 

It’s deer hunting season again, and we like to clean out last year’s venison still left in the freezer. Our steaks and chops are always great tasting, but sometimes need a little help with tenderizing.

A recent television show talked about grilling “elk boats.” Stuffed with ingredients, it was an interesting concept. They put many vegetables inside a slice of elk and pushed up the sides like a boat to keep the ingredients from spilling out.  I decided to try this using venison. 

I like to experiment with new ideas, however. So instead, I rolled slices of venison. It was delicious and easy!  I could call them a fancy name such as “Venison Roulade” but all that means is that they’re rolled up. So let’s be easy. Let's go with my version of Venison Roll-ups! I think you’ll like it too!

Saute

1_Saute

First, melt 1 to 2 Tablespoons butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Slice onions and mushrooms into the melted butter, and saute until tender. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash seasoning.

Tenderize

2_Venison Chopped

Venison steaks or chops should be 1 inch thick or thinner. Put them on a clean chopping board and tenderize with a chopper or meat mallet. Sprinkle meat tenderizer and a sprinkle of salt to each one.

Fill

3_Venison Filled

Place a spoonful or two of sautéed mushrooms and onions on each slice of meat.

Roll Up

4_Venison Rolled up

Roll them carefully, stuffing any veggies that fall out back in the center. Wrap a piece of bacon around the roll-up and secure with a toothpick. 

Grill or Fry

5_Venison Grilled up

Put the roll-ups on the grill, carefully turning until all sides are browned and the bacon is crispy.  (If you like the meat done all the way through, cover them with aluminum foil).  You can also fry these in olive oil on top of the range.

The result?

Succulent, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth venison full of goodness.

FRESH — for goodness sake!

What fresh recipes do you have for venison?

Roasted Pumpkin Soup for a Chilly Autumn Day

Nothing beats a bowl of hot soup on a chilly autumn day, and what better way than to fix it FRESH?

Homemade, For Goodness Sake!

I recently had “Autumn Soup” at a local restaurant. It boasts of a rich blend of butternut squash and pumpkin with honey, apple juice, cinnamon and a hint of curry. It was creamy, rich, sweet, and delicious.

Experiment or Testing?

pumpkin soup

I decided to try my own version at home with some of my freshly pureed pumpkin. I tend to experiment, sometimes to my own hurt. So I also switched some other ingredients (like sugar for honey) and added more pumpkin spices. My "sprinkle" of curry was a bit overzealous and too pungent, so I added garlic salt. Big mistake. The soup now lacked the sweetness. So much for my experiments.

The next step was to look for great recipes on the web. Oh, so many. Some add apple juice or maple syrup for sweetness; others add curry or thyme. Spicy or sweet? Oh, the choices. Vegan recipes substitute coconut milk or almond milk. Some add mashed potatoes for thickening, however, if you get the right consistency of pumpkin, you will have the thickness and texture desired without the added carbs.

Hot Soup! Hot MESS!

The first time I attempted to make my soup a little creamier, I put it into my blender — while HOT. Bad mistake. I learned from that experience the hard way. If you want a blender explosion, just put hot mixture into the blender and turn it on. It blows the lid right off and contents fly everywhere. Just ask me. Big mistake.

That is another reason to make your pumpkin puree ahead of time. Many recipes gave the whole process of preparing fresh pumpkin. Time-consuming when all you want is a quick bowl of hot soup. So much easier to pop your pumpkin puree from the freezer and prepare!

Autumn Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

• 1/2 small onion
• 2 cups pureed pumpkin (or 1 can)
• 4 cups vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon cloves
• 1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut or almond milk if desired)

Note: stick with full-fat milk or cream to avoid curdling.

Instructions:

1. Chop onion into tiny pieces, and sauté in a medium pot with 1 tablespoon butter until tender. Add pumpkin, vegetable broth, and maple syrup. Stir in spices and simmer.

2. Take 1/2 cup of soup out and mix with cream to warm it gently. Add the cream mixture back into the soup and simmer. Do not boil, it will separate the milk. If the milk separates, it’s still OK to eat, but does not look appetizing!  You can also remove the soup from the stove, add the milk or cream, and then reheat on very low heat. You’ll be rewarded with a thick, creamy soup! Yummy.

More Pumpkin Recipes

Find many other pumpkin recipes from all over the nation including pumpkin fudge, pumpkin roll-ups, pumpkin casserole, plus many desserts at www.kitchentipsandtreasures.wordpress.com.

Repurpose Your Autumn Decor ... Make a Pie

CA SimonsonFall is a beautiful and splendid time to decorate with so many colored leaves, chrysanthemums, and pumpkins! Many of my neighbors have small pumpkins, or carved Jack-o-lanterns out of the larger pumpkins sitting by their entryway. I wonder if they know they can reuse them? I asked my neighbor if I could have her pumpkins when she was done. She said, “Yes, but why?”

“I’m going to make pies; those little ones make the best ones,” I said.

She replied, “I make mine out of a can.”

It is easier to buy a can of pumpkin from the store, and most people may do it that way, but the flavor and freshness of fresh pumpkin is missing. Yes, it does take a bit of work, but it is so worth the time and effort in the middle of the winter!

Smaller Pumpkins Recommended

pumpkins in the grass
Small Sugar Pumpkins.

Large Jack-o-lantern pumpkins work for pies, but I’ve found the smaller pumpkins, about the size of a baseball or melon, are best. They are sweeter, too. To keep the sweetness and texture of the large pumpkins and prevent them from becoming stringy or dry, add a half stick of margarine and 1/2 cup brown sugar to the inside of the pumpkin before baking.

Preparation Lessons Learned

My first experience with pumpkins was rough — very rough. I gutted the huge pumpkin and then sawed my way through to cut it into slices. I cut off the rind and then chunked slices into pieces to boil in water until softened. Wow — talk about hard stuff to work with. There is a much easier way.

After removing strings and seeds, put the whole pumpkin into a large baking pan. Add a small amount of water to the pan and 1/8 inch of water inside the pumpkin. Add brown sugar and butter to make large ones sweeter. Bake the pumpkin 40-60 minutes at 350 degrees (or until a fork can easily go into the pumpkin).

Processing

Pumpkin chopped
Scooped pumpkin, save seeds for roasting.

Let the baked pumpkin cool and then scoop out pieces to put into a blender. Puree to a smooth consistency for pie or other pumpkin recipes. It is best to puree the pumpkin rather than mash it.  Add water if necessary to help it blend, but then strain the puree through cheesecloth or a sieve to keep pies from being too watery.

Preserving

I recommend freezing your puree in 1-gallon freezer bags.  It can be stored flat in the freezer, saving room.  Ladle 1 to 2 cups of pumpkin into freezer bags or containers and freeze! A recipe generally calls for 1 to 2 cups. By having bags pre-measured, it makes recipes easier to fix.

Pureed pumpkin
Puree pumpkin in blender or processor.

The USDA does not recommend canning mashed or pureed pumpkin. I learned that messy lesson one year!

Fresh Pumpkin Filling for Two Large Pies

Pumpkin pie
Fresh pumpkin pie

(My mother’s recipe from the 1940s)

• 2 cups pumpkin puree
• 2 cups evaporated milk
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 1/3 teaspoons ginger
• 1 teaspoon cloves
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• 2/3 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs

Beat eggs until light-colored. Add pumpkin and evaporated milk and blend. Stir in spices. (3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice may be substituted for the spices, but doesn’t have the same flavor. Multiply the above ingredients by the number of cups of puree.) Pour into unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 degree for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Yields two large pies. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!