Monday, November 5, 2007

Venison Stew with Bacon and Wild Mushrooms

1 cup dry red wine
1 ounce dried black trumpet mushrooms
6 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds venison stew meat
Black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
1 leek, white only, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 12 ounce bottle Newcastle Brown Ale or similar
1 1/2 quart veal stock or beef broth
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb wild mushrooms such as king trumpet, chanterelles, and shitakes.
3 tablespoons butter, divided.
1 pound cooked egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring the red wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the black trumpet mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are very soft, then remove the mushrooms, finely chop them and set them aside. Strain the wine to remove any grit from the mushrooms. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot cook the bacon over high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Season the venison with salt and pepper, and then lightly dust with flour. Add the oil to the bacon grease remaining in the pot and sear the venison in batches on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the pot and add the remaining flour, stirring constantly to make a roux. Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping with a wooden spoon.

Add the onions and cook over medium high heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and parsnips and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the leeks, black trumpet mushrooms, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beer and scrape to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef broth, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, allspice, bay leaves and tomato paste.

Place the stew in the insert of the slow cooker set on high for at least 5 hours. (Can cook as long as 7 hours)

1/2 to 1 hour before serving, sauté the wild mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter for around 5-7 minutes, or until they begin to release their juices. Add to the slow cooker.

Season to taste and serve with egg noodles tossed with the remaining butter. Garnish with a generous helping of the reserved bacon and a teaspoon of chopped parsley.

Thank you, Kurt, for sharing Bambi with me!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

A take on the Magnolia Bakery Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 ½ cups gingersnap cookies, crushed into crumbs
½ cup toasted pecans or hazelnuts, chopped into crumbs
¼ cup melted butter

Cheesecake filling
3 sticks (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp bourbon
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Maple Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix gingersnap crumbs, nuts, and melted butter. Press into the bottom and about 1” up the sides of a 9” springform pan. Set aside in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the cheesecake.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and bourbon in a standing mixer until cream cheese mixture is smooth. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides between each addition. Remove 1 cup of the batter and set aside. Add pumpkin puree and spices into remaining batter and mix until smooth on low speed. Pour pumpkin mixture into gingersnap crust. Dollop reserved plain cheesecake mixture onto the top of the pumpkin filling and swirl through the two several times with a long butter knife to create the marbled effect. Place prepared cheesecake on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Bake until cheesecake is firm on the outsides and not quite set in the middle, around 45 minutes. The cake must cool completely before it can be eaten. Let it cool to room temperature and then put it in the refrigerator at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.

When ready to eat, beat the heavy cream with the maple syrup. Serve each slice with a spoonful of cream.