Dry Rub Venison-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
By Chef and Author, Eileen Clarke
“Years ago a friend asked me if he salted his deer steaks, before cooking, if it would make the meat drier. He’d read it somewhere. My answer was no, it made no difference. But years later after making a lot of sausage, I wish I had another chance to answer that question. It does make a difference. But it’s a good difference.
Sausage makers know that letting salt sit on the meat for 24 hours before mixing, breaks down meat proteins. In sausage, the breakdown creates the bond between fat and lean and signature creamy texture of good sausage. In a dry rub, it tenderizes the meat, noticeably, letting you use pretty tough cuts for fast-cooking dishes instead of the same old boring stew and chili. The salt does nothing for hard sinew—the stuff you can’t see through, so you still have to trim that stuff away, but salt does an amazing job on the actual meat. This recipe is a great example. Apply this rub to some tough old steak you’ve been avoiding–48 hours should work. Then treat yourself to a gooey, delicious dinner of tender, tasty venison with creamy smoked Gouda, piled on a Portobello mushroom. Even people who don’t like mushrooms love this.”
Dry Rub Ingredients
1 pound venison steaks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry leaf marjoram
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Mix the dry rub. Slice the meat into thin strips, sprinkle the dry rub over both sides of the strips, then cover tightly and refrigerate 48 hours.
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, sliced thin
¼ cup chicken broth
6 portobello mushrooms
6-8 ounces Smoked Gouda, sliced thin
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the dry-rubbed steak strips. Cook until the first side gets nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes, then turn them and add the onions.
2. Continue cooking until the onions start to brown. Add the chicken broth and let that cook down until most of the liquid has gone, but the meat and onions are still quite moist. About 8-10 minutes, total. Remove the meat/onions from the heat.
3. To assemble: rub the outside of each mushroom with a bit of oil. Set stem side up on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and remove the stem. On each mushroom, spread 2 tablespoons of honey mustard, then 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut (drained a bit so it’s not soupy). Divide the meat/onion mixture among the mushrooms.
4. Bake about 5 minutes, uncovered, then place a slice of smoked Gouda on each mushroom. Continue cooking another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve hot.
There are at least two ways to slice an onion. If you’re not using the whole onion at once, the leftover part will stay fresher longer if you cut from the stem end first, and leave the root intact. (Wrap that in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate.) But cutting it across the grain means short pieces of onion, and I love long strips of onion in dishes like this (it’s just look more dramatic). The only way to get nice long strips of onion is to slice them from pole to pole. Since the meat is already in strips, it just makes the onions look like they belong.
About the Chef: Eileen Clarke is the author of 9 critically acclaimed wild game cookbooks, including Slice of the Wild, an all big-game bullet to fork guide, and Sausage Season, a step-by-step foolproof guide to making wild sausage. Check them out at her web site www.riflesandrecipes.com or call 406-521-0273 to order.