Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fun with Deer Sausage

A friend of the family gave my parents a freezerload of venison a few months ago, and my parents gave me some of it. Much of it was in the form of ground venison sausage, the same stuff I used to make that nuclear pea soup a little while back. I didn't realize when I used it that it was already heavily spiced; my mistake was adding enough seasonings to make the soup zesty without taking the meat into account. Zing!

Since then, I've used the spicy venison sausage in a variety of ways. First, I browned up a bunch of it and made lasagna. This worked out very well. Another good move was adding browned deer sausage to a batch of Zatarain's jambalaya. The spices in the meat complimented the pre-packaged flavoring, making a mixture that really popped.

By the way, I've been eating my way through an assortment of Zatarain's varieties; they're all very tasty. I just had their yellow rice three meals in a row - which took care of one package. When it comes to ready-to-eat meals for unmarried slobs like me, these rice dishes could give mac'n'cheese and ramen a run for their, er, water. Another rice-based meal I recently enjoyed was Vigo yellow rice. I'm just mad about saffron, eh?

Less successfully, I tried using the deer sausage in a batch of "salisbury steak" flavored Hamburger Helper. The spices in the meat overwhelmed the flavoring in the gravy. The result was three or four meals that I could choke down, but that didn't add much beauty to my day.

Tonight, I have returned to the theme of pea soup. This time, however, I'm doing an orthodox job of it, using a ham bone. It's a long time since I've done that. My earliest efforts in pea soup involved cured pork hocks, which flavored the soup nicely but weren't any fun to de-bone. I mean, most of what isn't bone is skin. And who wants to eat that? (Please, don't answer that question.) So I have mostly turned to the expedient of "bacon ends and pieces," available on many supermarket meat counters. This larger bone-in cut actually looks like it may have come from a ham shank, and it has a considerable amount of meat on it. So perhaps there will be some "ham" in my "split pea and ham soup." Wonders never cease!

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