Chef Margarita Carrillo Arronte has a extremely thorough and well researched new cookbook out called “Mexico”, which details numerous traditional Mexican cuisines by their region. If you are into traditional Mexican food at all, you can’t go wrong with this book. I did come across at least one Venison and one Rabbit dish, though curiously, the index appears to be missing references to both meats.”Venison Dzik”, a Yucatan dish, looks interesting and simple as does the Mexico City inspired “Rabbit in Prune and Chili Sauce”. Flipping pages and reading recipe titles such as “Pork Shank in Chileajo”, “Stewed Beef in Chili Sauce” and “Steak Nicolasa”, the wild game cook’s gears can easily began to churn with game meat applications.
Birria is a spicy stew dish usually made with goat meat, but lamb and even chicken and beef are often used as well. Birria originates from the Jalisco region and is a particularly popular street food in Guadalajara. There are numerous variations on this excellent dish. Substituting Venison for Lamb, we adapted Chef Arronte’s instructions for this traditional dish. You might note that the roasting method is remarkably similar to the finishing stage of our venison pastrami recipe. Roasting venison over a tray of water is a very efficient method for maintaining moisture.
Note that this dish contains no supplemental fat. Feel free to add a bit of bacon, pork belly or lard if you wish. We did not find it necessary, but the option is listed below.
6 chilies, dry roasted
5 guajillo chilies, dry roasted
3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 inch fresh ginger
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sea salt
3-4 lbs of venison roast meat (usually calls for lamb or goat shoulder, we used 2 small bottom round cuts -any hindquarter or shoulder venison cut will work.)
1 cup beef or venison stock
4 tbsp dry sherry or white wine
chopped cilantro to garnish
Place the chilies in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and soak the chilies for 20 minutes.
Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid, and place them in a blender or food processor.
Add garlic and vinegar and process to a paste.
Add cinnamon, ginger, 1 tsp oregano, cumin, pepper, salt and process again until it forms a thick paste. If necessary, add some of the reserved liquid.
Rub the paste all over the venison, cover and allow to marinate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350. Place the venison on a wire rack over a roasting pan filled with water.
*You may add a bit of fat. You can place some bacon on the rack with the venison or just add some lard to the water or just bypass adding fat altogether. (with lamb or goat, fat would drip off the meat into the water).
Wrap the whole setup tightly in aluminum foil and bake for 4-5 hours until the venison is tender. This process should keep the meat moist. If the meat still seems tough, wrap it directly in foil with some of the liquid and braise it on high heat until the meat reaches desired tenderness. (there are always variables for tougher venison versus more tender).
Reserve the liquid in the roasting pan, cut the venison into bite sized chunks and brown them in the oven for a minute.
Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Place the tomatoes, oregano, and stock into a processor or blender and process until smooth. Add this mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the liquid and meat to bowls and garnish with cilantro and chopped onion.
Lime juice and hot sauce as needed.