Welcome Home Team USA - An Olympic Inspired Venison Field to Fork
I love the Olympic Games. It's a celebration of sport and the amazing athletes that give it their all on the field, in stadiums, at the pool, and on the range. They may not have stood in the spotlight like other Olympians, but members of Team USA who competed in the shooting sports have done us proud for these Games. Each of the members of the U.S. Shooting Team deserve a big round of applause for just making it to the Olympics.
Congratulations to Corey Cogdell, Glenn Eller, Amanda Furrer, Jonathan Hall, Michael McPhail, Emil Milev, Nick Mowrer, Jason Parker, Josh Richmond, Sarah Scherer, Keith Sanderson, Daryl Szarenski, Frank Thompson, Jason Turner and Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft. An additional congrats goes out to Matt Emmons who brought home Bronze in men's 50-meter 3-position rifle.
USA Shooting's Olympic medalists. Photo courtesy of USA Shooting.
Of course, I have to celebrate Team USA shooters who didn't just win gold medals, they also set records. Jamie Lynn Gray drilled her final shot into her target, a 10.8, to win gold and also set an Olympic Record in the women's 50-meter 3-position rifle event. Vincent Hancock of the US Army Marksmanship Unit became the first back-to-back gold medalist in Men's Skeet. And then there is the amazing Kim Rhode who won gold by shooting an Olympic Record of 99 and accomplished another first for American athletes. Her "Drive for Five" is a brilliant success story and Kim became the first American to claim a medal in five consecutive Olympics.
The Games inspire so many of us. For some it elevates American pride as the Star Spangled Banner is played. Young, aspiring athletes become even more motivated watching their Olympic heroes strive to be the best. I am inspired too, not just as an athlete and shooter, but also as a foodie.
If you have been following my venison field to fork recipes
here, you know that I not only enjoy hunting and the outdoors, but I also take a lot of pride in making good food with game. Inspired by the Olympics and serving as a welcome home dish for our American athletes, the next stop on my mule deer meat world tour is England in honor of the 2012 London Games.
From Wikipedia, "Lancashire hotpot is a dish made traditionally from lamb or mutton and onion, topped with sliced potatoes, left to bake in the oven all day in a heavy pot and on a low heat."
The hotpot is often served at parties and in pubs in Great Britain. Why? Well, first off because it's yummy. Another reason is that it's also easy to make. The dish is classic meat and potatoes food fare, something we Americans can certainly appreciate. Here's my version of a Team USA inspired Field to Fork, Venison Lancashire Hotpot.
I started with preheating my oven to 350 and then began to peel my potatoes. My potatoes came straight from my friend Patti's garden so they were all different sizes but around four to five medium potatoes should be good if you would like to try this recipe at home. Once peeled, I ran them through my mandolin and cut them into thin slices.
I smashed five garlic cloves with my knife, peeled them and then roughly chopped them with my knife. After that I tackled one really large sweet onion. I sliced the onion so that pieces were about a quarter of an inch thick and about two inches long.
The last task for my knife, I cut four large venison steaks into bite size pieces. Any cut of venison will do for this recipe. Just make sure you remove the silvery looking skin and any white veins and fat from your venison. My general rule is that if the meat is tough to cut, it will be tough to chew.
When the cutting was done I melted one stick of salted butter on medium low heat in a large skillet. Next, I removed the skillet from the burner and added half my potatoes to the pan. I tossed the potatoes in the butter to make sure they were thoroughly coated.
I have been looking for a recipe that would give me the chance to use these cute little Dutch oven-like dishes I got for a steal. I used them for this field to fork but a regular Dutch oven will work just as well. I distributed the potatoes as a bottom layer in each of the four dishes. Next I poured the rest of the butter into the bowl with my potatoes and tossed to thoroughly coat them. Then I let the potatoes sit.
I placed my skillet back on the burner, added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and cranked up the heat to high. Once rippling hot I added my venison and scattered a pinch of sea salt over the meat. I let the venison get a good sear on one side before stirring and flipping it around in the skillet. I turned the burner dial down to medium heat and then distributed the meat on top of the layer of potatoes into each bowl. On top of the venison, I added one small bay leaf.
Leaving the oil and juices in the pan I returned the skillet to the stove and then added my onion and garlic. I let these cook for about four to five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next up, I added seasoning to the dish. I poured one teaspoon of a rather famous English condiment, Worcestershire sauce, in the pan. In honor of the many hours our Olympians have spent training and shooting on the range, I added a half-teaspoon of dried thyme. The last ingredient into the pan - beer!
Many Lancashire hotpot recipes call for either chicken broth or lamb stock to help keep the contents moist. Since this is a pub dish and I wanted to use a liquid that is rather popular in the United States, I chose a micro brew! I selected a summer ale in honor of the Summer Games. I poured the entire contents of one bottle of Big Sky Brewing Co.'s Summer Honey Seasonal Ale
into the skillet as a tribute to fellow Montanan Olympic shooter Nick Mowrer.
I turned off the stove and spooned the onions on top of the venison layer. I poured the liquid from my pan into a large measuring cup to make it easier to add the liquid to each of my bowls. I poured just enough of the beer mixture to cover the meat under the onions. For the final step I layered the remaining butter coated potatoes on top of each dish. I covered them tightly with aluminum foil and into the oven they went for two hours.
It wasn't long before the entire house was filled with the most delicious smells. After the two hours passed I removed the foil from the dishes and returned them to the oven to cook for another hour. Served with a nice mixed green salad, the meal was ready, a 2012 Olympic inspired, good old meat and potatoes welcome home to Team USA!
For more photos and to download a pdf version of this recipe on Julie's Blog
In addition to being a hunter, mother, housewife and author, Julie Golob is also a world and national champion shooter. For more about Julie visit www.JulieGolob.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.