Aug 3, 2010

Venison, soup and pizookie...oh my.

This post brings quite an assortment of recipes. The recipes included in this post: Southwest Venison Roast, Chipotle-Cream Sauce, Tangy Chicken Rice, Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup, Crispy Tortilla Strips, Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Pizookie Base, and Simple Fudge Sauce.

Coming home from my weekend with the family, I wanted to find some recipes that would yield multiple meals for the week. I knew I was in possession of a venison roast, given to my parents by my uncle and passed on to me since they aren't the biggest venison fans. I decided it was time to cook it up. I kept the the seasonings simple, but wanted a southwest flavor - in my book TexMex never fails.

Southwest Venison Roast

  • 1 venison roast
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, chili powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Coat roast with olive oil. Rub with salt, pepper and chili powder. Cook at 400 F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue until cooked to desired temperature. About 1 hour and 15 minutes yields a tender and juicy roast cooked between medium and medium well. Be sure to baste the roast with the juices periodically throughout cooking to avoid drying out the roast.

Venison roast, not the one I made, but similar.
Photo courtesy of
To compliment the roast, I wanted something with a little spice. The smoky flavor of the chipotle is a great addition to almost any meat and I knew it would go well with the venison. I sorted through several recipes and chose a Chipotle-Cream Sauce. The sauce had a nice roasted spice that was cut by a smooth creamy texture. Indeed, the sauce worked perfectly with the roast, and gave it an extra dimension. I modified the recipe and replaced half of the whipping cream with whole lactose-free milk to meet the dietary needs of a friend. Doing so eliminated some of the lactose, but maintained a creamy texture when heated. As far as I was concerned, no effect of the sauce was lost.

Chipotle-Cream Sauce
Courtesy My Recipes

  • 1/3 c. chopped onion
  • 2 T. chopped roasted red bell pepper, canned
  • 1 1/2 t. chopped garlic
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 T. ground cumin
  • 1/4 c. fat skimmed chicken broth
  • 2 T. canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 c. whipping cream
1. Combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, butter/margarine, and cumin in a 10-12 inch frying pan. Sauté until onion is limp, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Whirl mixture in a food processor/blender with broth and chipotles.
3. Scrape mixture back into frying pan. Add cream and stir over high heat until simmering, allow to simmer about 3 minutes.

Rice seems to be my default side for a meal like this. It is simple to prepare - given you have the time - and it is a side that can be tailored to the flavors of the meal. Typically, a tomato-based Spanish rice is surefire side for any Mexican or Southwest entree, but since I also served a tortilla soup with a strong tomato presence, I opted to take the rice in a different direction.

Tangy Chicken Rice

  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 chicken bouillian cube
  • 1 tomatillo, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 T. lime juice
1. Bring rice, water, and bouillian cube to a boil over high heat.
2. When water is boiling, add the chopped tomatillo. Cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add cumin and lime juice to fully cooked rice.

I also decided this weekend that I wanted to make a tortilla soup. I'm not the biggest soup fanatic, but every now and then I do crave a good, hearty soup. Plus, for me, one soup equals lunch for a week. I decided I'd make a soup that could be served before the roast and rice and chose Rachel Ray's Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup. The soup was fantastic and had a robust tangy-savory flavor. It seemed to be a common complaint under the recipe's comments that the Ancho chiles were hard to find and I too was not able to find them at my local store. In place of the Anchos I added 2 red chiles to the the chicken stock and skipped adding them as later instructed. A user suggested also adding a second jalepeno and the juice of an extra lime to adjust the flavor. The result was a soup that hit multiple flavor notes - I was intrigued when I saw cinnamon and honey on the ingredients list. I'd like to get my hands on some Ancho chiles to taste the recipe in its original form.

Rachel Ray's recipe had no picture, but this is a similar finished look.

 Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe created by Rachel Ray
  • 2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 ears corn on the cob, husked, kernels removed (or 1 c. frozen kernels, defrosted)
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalepeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chooped
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 t. smoked paprika (I used regular)
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  •  1 T. honey
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 cups water, to thin soup to liking
Garnish: Sour cream, limes, avocados, tortilla strip (recipe below).

1. Add ancho chiles and chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chiles are tender. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Meanwhile, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat. Add corn and sauté until charred on the sides, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat slightly and add onions, jalepeno, red chile pepper and garlic. Add cumin, paprika and cinnamon. Sauté for 5 minutes. Then stir in roasted tomatoes.
3. Puree ancho and chicken stock in a food processor/blender. Stir into tomato mixture.
4. Mix in honey and shredded chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin the soup with water to taste and desired consistency.
5. Zest and juice one lime and add to soup pot.

Crispy Tortilla Strips
  • 6 wheat tortillas, cut into bite sized strips
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • chili powder
  • salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line the bottom of a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with olive oil spray.
3. Spread out tortilla strips on baking sheet. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt. Lightly spray tops of strips with olive oil spray.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, allow 5 minutes to sit on counter so the strips get crispy.

For dessert, I made a chocolate pizookie (pizza-cookie) with homemade peanut butter ice cream and topped with a fudge sauce. The Dark Chocolate Cookie and Peanut Butter Ice Cream are courtesy of Cherry Tea Cakes, a mouthwatering dessert blog created by Jana of Washington D.C. Again, I used lactose-free milk along with the cream successfully. Since I am new to the blogging word, and don't know the proper etiquette pertaining to the use of other bloggers' food photos, you can check the links above to see her mouthwatering photos. Click with caution as you will likely find yourself scouring the recipes she has posted. Thanks Jana for the fantastic recipes.

Creamy, nutty and sweet, this is everything ice cream is a rich frozen treat that is an excellent companion for a chocolate cookie. I love peanut butter and always wondered why its never had its own ice cream flavor. I suppose it is a flavor that begs to be paired, but I had no problem eating it by itself.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Recipe courtesy of Jana at Cherry Tea Cakes
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1. Scald milk and cream.
2. Lightly whisk eggs in a stand mixer along with the sugar, then add scalded mixture in a slow stream on a low speed. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of the peanut butter. *Here Jana suggests reserving the other  1/2 c. to stir in the finished ice cream to create a swirl. I used added the 1/2 c. along here, foregoing the swirl.
3.  Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve if you would like a non-chunky peanut butter ice cream. Chill mixture.
4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for an ice cream maker. If you have no ice cream maker, place in a freezer-safe container and cover with aluminum foil. Freeze for 6-7 hours, stirring the mixture ever hour and a half to two hours.

On Epicurious, the following recipe is known as a Dark Chocolate Cookie, but I feel the result doesn't quite match the feel of a cookie. To me it was more of a cakey brownie - a rich, dense flavor with a slight airy quality. On its own, the chocolate flavor is strong, but rather one-note. I decided to establish this as a pizookie base; when used with other flavors, it adds a great dimension to the dessert. In this case, the peanut butter ice cream was perfect with it.

Dark Chocolate Pizookie Base
Recipe provided by Cherry Tea Cakes, originating from Epicurious

  • 3/4 c, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt (I used sea salt I had on hand)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
3. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until well combined.
5. Bake in either a parchment-lined pan or divide batter between several oven-safe bowls for individual servings. *I used a 10.5 x 7 baking pan. Using a larger pan will result in a thinner cake-base, which I would have preferred. Bake 7-10 minutes, depending on desired texture.

Finally, since I had baked my base perhaps a minute too long, I decided to add a fudge sauce to the add a little moisture to the dessert. Between the chocolate base, peanut butter ice cream and the fudge topping, this was one filling dessert that had the "grandiose" quality you'd find in a restaurant.

Simple Fudge Sauce
Recipe provided by Sunita for the The Daring Baker's July Challenge

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T. cornstarch (use a little less for a thinner sauce, a little more for a thicker one)
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and water.
2. Place pan over high heat and stir constantly until it begins to thicken and smooth. This will happen suddenly within 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and mix in butter and vanilla. Allow to cool or serve warm.

To assemble the pizookie: place a piece of the chocolate base in a bowl, then add a scoop or two of peanut butter ice cream. Lastly, top with the desired amount of fudge sauce.


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