Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome Back!!!

Sorry for the break everyone, but I had a once in a lifetime opportunity last week to spend the week of Christmas at home with my boys, so the blog had to wait.  At 7 and 2 they are just two of the craziest people in my life right now.  Robert, the 7 year old, got video games and Legos, the latter of which were some of my favorite toys growing up.  Aiden, the 2 year old, got Thomas the train engines and tracks, plus several sock monkey themed gifts.  Both boys are still young enough that any kind of present is simply magical in their eyes.  So somehow in between making sure Aiden didn't lose any Lego pieces for Robert, and making sure Robert didn't break any Thomas gear for Aiden, I had my hands full.  Even still I found time for one of my passions in life:  Cooking.

On my mother's side of the family, the Christmas dinner has somehow managed to morph into a feast of nearly absurd proportions.  I'm not exaggerating now when I tell you we managed to have 7 different proteins on the buffet table before we sat down. 

For my contribution to this feast I smoked a turkey breast and made a German style Venison stew, called Hirschgulasch.  The recipe for the stew, is apparently so authentic, that half of the websites that contained the recipe were completely in German.  Thanks to Google translate, and some patient digging, I was able to re-create the recipe with amazing results.  Served with some scratch made Spaetzle the stew was phenomenal.

Stop back tomorrow for a complete breakdown of this recipe.

For the smoked turkey breast I chose a very straight forward process.  Whenever smoking meat I find myself lost in the process.  Since I had purchased a whole turkey at a pre-Thanksgiving discount price, I decided to remove the wings, legs and thighs, and save those for another meal.  After exercising my butchering skills I created a brine with salt, sugar, peppercorns, onion and garlic powder and lemon juice, then soaked the breast overnight in my 3 gal ceramic crock.  Thanks to Erie weather the crock stayed cold enough to be save, but never froze.  After drying the bird into the smoker he went over some lovely Pecan wood.  Five short hours later the bird was out, and rested, whole, in the fridge overnight.  My goal was to utilize my "new-used" meat slicer on the breast meat.  The results were outstanding.

In addition to both of these great dishes I utilized my new cookbook:  The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton to make 2 more fantastic dishes I'll be sharing with you over the next several days. I discovered this book while reading Hank Shaw's blog: Hunter Angler Gardner Cook. And after making just 2 of the recipes I'll say that I'm thrilled with the results.

Happy Cooking!
Scott M

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