Friday, May 18, 2012

Venison Matambre

Yep, I could have arranged those vegetable neater.

Sure, you could use flank steak like a normal person, but I have a freezer full of Bambi that needs to get used before next hunting season. I had irregular pieces of venison to work with, but between pounding the hell out of them with the side of a mallet, and careful layering, I was able to get the thing to roll-up. Extravagant use of butcher's twine didn't hurt either. You don't ear extra points for tying neatly-you earn points for a matambre that stays together when you slice it, which mine did. So there.

I made a few adjustments to the original which comes from a 1969 Time Life Illustrated Library of Cooking. I only own volume one, as my mother only bought one volume. I suspect this was a supermarket giveaway that you had to save register receipts for. She must have looked at the matambre, beef birds with pea puree, and potted pork before deciding it wasn't for her. I only found the cookbooks after she died (she had quite a few stashed away) which was twenty years ago next week. I don't know which came as a bigger shock, her death, or her hidden cookery book collection. Both caught me off guard in terms of impossibility.

This can be served warm or cold. Tango dancing optional (but really, why wouldn't you?)

You Will Need:

2 two lb. flank steaks of beef or venison
1/2 cup malt vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 pound fresh spinach
8 scraped cooked whole carrots (you can use them uncooked if they are thin, and you halve them lengthwise)
4 hard cooked eggs cut lengthwise into quarters
1 large onion sliced 1/8 inch thick and sectioned into rings
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoons crumbled hot pepper (I had ancho)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 cups beef stock
1-3 cups cold water

Butterfly the steaks carefully, but if you screw-up, don't despair as you can patch the holes when you roll it all up. Open the steaks. Place them between 2 sheets of wax paper and with a mallet or cleaver, pound the living daylights out of them (taking care not to tear them if possible).

Lay one steak cut side up on a non-reactive baking sheet or 9x13 pan (they said a jelly roll pan, but no one has room for that in the fridge, so I changed it). Sprinkle it with half the vinegar, then scatter half the garlic and thyme over it. Cover the meat with the other steak, also cut side up and repeat with remaining vinegar, thyme, and garlic. Cover the pan and frdige it at least six hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the steaks end to end overlapping by about 2 inches. Pound the joined ends together. Wash the spinach and pat mostly dry. Spread the leaves over the meat. Arrange the carrots across the grain in rows 3 inches apart. Place eggs between the rows of carrots. Scatter the onion rings over it all. Sprinkle the surface evenly with parsley, salt and chillies. Carefully roll the steaks, jelly roll fashion into a long cylinder. Tie securely with butcher's cord at 1 inch intervals. Run it back through at the end and flip over, running it through again. This is overkill, but eh, whatever. Trim off excess cord.

Place in a heavy casserole dish that will accommodate the roll and liquids. It should have a tight fitting lid, or cover it with foil. Pour in the stock to surround the venison, this should come 1/3 of the way up the roll. Add water if needed. Cover and cook about i hour or until tender. Let it rest 10 minutes before snipping away the cord. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and serve hot or cold.

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