How do we get the very most value from any animal we harvest? This question is driven by a combination of respect, honour, and appetite. As hunters, we all benefit when we try new methods and fresh approaches to butchering and cooking.
Backstraps and tenderloin are top-tier culinary rewards for spending time in the field and finding success hunting. But a boned leg of venison holds luxury to share too––and that luxury takes the form of schnitzel. Jaeger schnitzel is a rustic treatment of a cross-grain cut from either the outside or inside boneless round. Cut slices of meat cross-grain 5 – 7 mm thick, hammer out to a thin schnitzel, and celebrate the goodness. This process and recipe work for spring and fall bears, as well as any Alberta ungulate from pronghorn to moose.
- 1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb venison or bear leg, trimmed of silver skin and cut crosswise into 50-60 gram pieces
- 4 strips bacon
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ white onion, peeled and sliced finely lengthwise
- 1 cup rye flour
- smoked salt
- coarse black pepper
- 100 ml red wine
- 2 tsp concentrated liquid beef stock
- 1 cup venison or beef stock
- 1 tsp German mustard
- ¼ tsp caraway seed
- ½ cup sour cream
- fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp steak spice
- Trim silver skin and fat from venison leg.
- Preheat a dinner plate in the oven set at 180F.
- Rinse, drain and slice the mushrooms.
- Slice the bacon in small pieces and fry until the fat renders.
- Meanwhile, place the venison or bear on its side between two sheets of plastic wrap on a solid surface. Smack with a meat mallet, the side of a heavy cleaver, or the side of a hand-ax. You want the meat to be about ¼ inch thick.
- Once bacon is done, set aside. Season the cutlets with smoked salt and coarse pepper––let sit for a minute or two for the salt to absorb.
- Dredge cutlets in rye flour. Set same pan (with bacon fat) to medium high heat. Brown one side of the meat, then flip and brown the other. Remove the cutlets, place them on a paper towel on the plate from the oven, and return to the oven to keep warm.
- Sautee onions in the bacon fat over medium heat until they start to become translucent. Add the mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Sautee the mushrooms until they are lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
- As soon as the mushrooms are cooked, add the wine, stock, liquid beef concentrate, mustard, and caraway seed. Keeping heat on high, stir often until the liquid reduces and thickens to a syrupy consistency.
- Turn off the heat, and quickly stir in the sour cream.
- Plate the cutlets on top of the mushroom sauce with a side of your favourite potato and vegetable.
Note: there is no need to worry about food safety with bear meat—just follow the rules. Be sure to hit meat temperature of 165F for a few minutes. Also consider adding the bear cutlets to the sauce while the sauce reduces, which will ensure the bear is well beyond the target minimum temperature.