Spice up autumn with a good game dish.

Rich, fall flavors from venison and herbs based in tomato make this satisfying pasta dish.

As many of my readers know, I’m partial to pasta. However, I’ve recently taken to creating dishes that are versatile enough to be served over other “white things,” like rice or mashed potatoes.

If you have some shoulder meat leftover in your freezer, not the least tender cut, you can work miracles with it using this recipe. The spices and slow cooking eliminate the gaminess of the meat, something that will please even those who don’t enjoy wild game.

INGREDIENTS

Marinade

  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh sage
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • cheesecloth
  • 2 lbs. venison shoulder, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 1⁄2 cups hearty red wine (Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec)

Ragù

  • Tightly sealed bag of herbs, as described in directions
  • 1⁄2 cup each, finely chopped yellow onion, carrot, celery 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-28 oz. can peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup hearty red wine (Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec)
  • 1⁄2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • Extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Serves 4-6

Marinade

Make up two tightly sealed cheesecloth bags with: sprig of fresh rosemary, sprig of fresh sage, one cinnamon stick, three bay leaves and six whole cloves. In a non-aluminum bowl, combine venison shoulder, celery, carrot, onion, 2 1⁄2 cups hearty red wine and one filled cheesecloth bag. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Ragù

Remove the venison from the marinade and drain excess liquid. Discard marinade. Over medium-high heat, in a shallow pot, brown the venison. Remove the browned venison from the pan and reduce meat to medium. Add the chopped celery, carrots and onion and cook until translucent, not browned. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and the second cheesecloth bag. Cook for about two minutes. Add the venison, both wines, and the beef stock. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for up to three hours, or until the venison chunks are fork-tender.

Serve over pappardelle or fettuccine pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Options for this recipe might also include substituting a chunk of wild pig shoulder for the deer meat. Also, using a slow cooker or crock pot might be a good option for the final simmer. FS

First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2018

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