It became clear to me this weekend why people all say keep it simple and your food will be awesome. From how difficult people make venison, any antlered wild game, seem, I expected the cooking to be complicated at best to get all the best flavours out and minimize the "gaminess" that people always complain about. But it wasn't.
Here is how my Sunday went down:
4am: Get my ass out of bed and boogie on over to The Brasserie in Kensington to watch the Canadian men take Olympic gold. Thanks to Toews, Crosby, and Kunitz for your goals, Brasserie for the bourbon, beer and awesome pancake breakfast and the many super awesome people for the company. This moment in my life is truly the most Calgarian and Canadian I have ever felt. After the game is over, chef Cam vacuum seals my deer loin roast and back strap. What a great start to my day!
8:30am: Get home from the game, the sun's rising, the wife's rising, and the deer starts the long journey to 53.6 celsius. Sous-vide cooking is the simplest thing you will ever do to make your meat perfectly everytime. 52° is rare, 54° is medium rare and nothing above that matters. I'm sure many other people have had the experience where you leave something to cook all day and the juices leech out and the internal temp of the roast reaches 70° and you get an ugly grey slab of something resembling meat and you hope to hell that your gravy is good enough to mask the fact that you over cooked the shit out of the roast. Well this wasn't making me stress at all, I knew I could leave it for 10 hours and the meat would never get more cooked than med-rare. My great day continues.
10am: With the meat proteins and fats starting the process of breaking down we take off to the Kingsland Farmers Market to see what's available for seasonal fare that would be great with game. After a quick wander, and being accosted for an animal rights petition despite Shanelle wearing real fur head to toe, we decide that the simplest would be a root veg dominated side, so we grab beets, carrots and potatoes.
11am: Kill time at Chinook and Chapters having a laugh at some ridiculous books while we wait for Silk Road Spice Merchant to open in Inglewood.
12:30: Silk Road!! Such a great store to hang out in. It always smells delicious in there and they have such cool tasty things! On Collin's recommendation we pick up a juniper based spice rub to massage on the meat before searing, more on that later.
1pm: We get home and remember that the meat is still going, that is how not stressful cooking expensive cuts are in sous-vide. We do a little prep on the veg and taters clean up and play Forza for the afternoon, where I knock off a few more of the bro-in-law's rival times, that is the funnest way to cook for sure.
6pm: Forza gets put away and and our dinner guests arrive. Vanessa finds her new signature dish which were super awesome crab/seafood cakes. Perfectly bite sized, amazing well puffed pastry, a delicious mix of seafood, topped with a piece chive or or two looking like Homer Simpson's hair. Andrew makes us Tini shots to go with, basically a martini in a shot glass with 1/2 an olive. Once the shots were downed we move on to Domaine Carneros brut rose and have a lengthy conversation about sous-viding as I rub down and massage my meat. With the juniper rub applied and the cast iron smokin hot, like the 3 women at dinner, on went the big roast. A very quick sear all the way around and taken off to rest less than a minute later. After getting the big meat off I moved on to the two small pieces of back strap and gave them the same treatment.
7:15pm: This is what the meat looked like as it went to the table:
Apologies about the blur, the picture was barely an after thought as we watched the meat pink up. This platter along with the beets, mershperterders and carrots hit the table with fresh buttermilk biscuits made by my wife, and a beautiful burgundy, Faiveley 1er Cru Aux Chaignots from Brittany and Cam. Shanelle and I had some pretty awesome wine for the table with Massolino's 2011 Langhe nebbiolo and the Laughing Stock 2011 Blind Trust red, but that Pinot Noir was singing. I was super stoked on the wine and the food and the company made it that much better. We all put more meat into our mouths than expected and managed to get through 22 biscuits (I thought I'd have a few of those left over so sadness for me at the end of the meal) and still had room for dessert.
9:30pm: After a few hours of indulging on meat out came Brit and Cam's dessert. The theme of simple continued, and it was perfect. Banana muffins with a rhum butter, holy hell. They were top notch to be sure, it became immediately apparent why Brit wanted to do the desserts so badly... her sauce ended up all over mine and Andrew's faces. And just in case dessert wasn't good enough on it's own we had a bottle of Phelps Eisrébe, a California icewine from an obscure German grape.
Well we packed a ton of shit into that day but here's what came of it... Get yourself a deer and then go visit Silk Road Spice Merchant. Sous-vide the hell out of it. Invite friends over, Enjoy. It's just that simple.