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  • By Ken Perrotte

Chicken Fried Venison, Mashed Potatoes & Peas - Ultimate Comfort Food

Updated: Feb 20


Soon after joining the military, I found myself in a little Texas café where the waitress recommended the chicken fried steak, sometimes known as country fried steak.That approximately 10-inch diameter slice of tenderized cube steak arrived sizzling hot, coated in a golden-brown crust and topped with perfectly seasoned cream gravy. Thick mashed potatoes with vegetables shared the plate.

Thus began a love affair that has endured for decades.

It is so difficult to serve a modest helping of chicken fried anything. Some meals demand full bellies at the end and a suitable aperitif such as watching a football game while a fire warms the room, or a similarly strenuous activity.

Naturally, the question eventually arose, “How would this taste with deer?”The answer, “Pass me some more of that gravy, please.”

Ingredients (serves two to four people depending on appetite)

1 pound boneless venison cut into ½ inch slices (we like to use round roast and butterfly the smaller pieces)

¼ cup milk

1 egg or ¼ teaspoon egg substitute

¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, depending on your taste

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/3 to ½ cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Gravy

1 ½ cup whole milk

2 rounded tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Several years ago, we discovered the Mr. Tenderizer, a simple, inexpensive gadget that makes it easy to tenderize meat. It assembles quickly, works well and is easy to clean. It is made of plastic and not designed for heavy, prolonged work, but in those few times a year when a recipe calls for pounding or tenderizing thin cuts of meat or poultry, we’ve enjoyed the quality of its results. Of course, other commercial products are available or there is the meat mallet option.

Run the venison pieces through the tenderizer or pound with a meat mallet until it’s uniformly about ¼ inch thick. It may take a few trips through the tenderizer to reach desired thickness. Mix the egg and milk and soak meat in the mixture while combining the flour, salt and pepper on a paper plate or cutting board. Lift meat pieces from the egg mixture and let excess drip off. Dredge in flour, coating well. Melt butter in oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meat and brown on both sides. Remove the meat and keep warm while making the gravy.

Blend the gravy ingredients well and add to pan drippings. Stir or whisk over medium heat until thickened. Spoon gravy over meat and potatoes, if desired, when serving.

Sides

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch chunks

3 tablespoons softened margarine

½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

2 or 3 tablespoons milk

Boil potatoes in water until tender, about 15 minutes. While cooking, combine margarine and garlic. Drain and mash potatoes in a mixing bowl. Mix in the margarine and garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add milk to desired consistency. Serve with green peas and biscuits. Your favorite beer, such as a Fred Red from Fredericksburg’s Blue & Gray Brewing Co., rounds out the meal.

Cheese Bread

Combine 2 ounces each of Monterey Jack, Colby or Cheddar, and Swiss or Blue cheeses with 3 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1 tablespoon sherry. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and chives, 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary.

Slices French bread (a 30-degree jaunty angle always looks nice) almost all the way through. Spread cheese mixture on the cut sides. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

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