Since filling my freezer with deer meat generously donated to KKF from my new best friend, I have been busy conjuring and inventing and experimenting with venison. After my initial kung faux pas disappointment, I had success with venison chili, then scored a big win with the venison fried steak using some of the chuck steaks. Yesterday I made venison and bull burger meatballs using the ground deer and generally following this recipe from Allrecipes.com that turned out exceptionally well (more on that later).
This morning I knew I needed an easy dinner so I pulled a venison rump roast out of the freezer. After pawing around in the fridge and counter to see what else I had, I ended up with the following in the slow cooker:
½ medium sweet onion, sliced
½ medium fennel head, sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs winter savory
3 small to medium sweet potatoes
About a 2 ½ lb. venison rump roast
A few slices of fatty bacon
I layered the onion and fennel on the bottom of the crock, laid the herbs on top, then the roast. I fit the potatoes in around the roast and laid the slices of fatty bacon on top of the roast. I did that for several reasons. First, my crock roasts often get a little dried out on top so I figured the bacon would help keep it moist. Second, it would flavor the roast as the bacon fat melted and rolled down the side. Finally, what gets WORSE when you put bacon on it??
I salted and peppered my creation and then poured about a third of a cup of beef stock that I made yesterday into the bottom. I let it rip for 7 hours on low, figuring at the end of the day I’d have a roast and some spuds.
I have three words to describe what came out of the crock. Uh. Maze. Ing. The roast was tender and flavorful and not at all gamey. The bacon was slightly crisped on top. Wow. Even Test Subject Bill, who is usually indifferent to slow cooker food, was quite impressed and went back for seconds.
Observations: my experience with fennel is very limited. The narrow, round part of the fennel that goes up to the top came out tough and woody. Maybe you’re just not supposed to eat that part. Anyway, I know I won’t do it again. Also, I was too stingy with the salt. Bill is picky about salt levels so I typically season things light; this, however, tasted great with more salt. (Healthy sea salt, not iodized table salt. I use that for de-icing the sidewalk.)
Not only was this roast delicious, but with the pastured bacon that I cured and smoked myself, a deer that was running around in the Georgia countryside just weeks ago, and locally raised sweet potatoes and herbs from my CSA, it was nourishing for our bodies and our local community. That’s something that just doesn’t come with a bar code.