Warm Up This Winter with This Recipe for Venison-Red Lentil Curry

Deer hunting season in Michigan may be over, but if you or a friend or family member hunts, chances are you have some venison lying around in a freezer — and you may be wondering how to prepare it.

This recipe comes from Ruben Griffin, executive chef at Cork Wine Pub in Pleasant Ridge, a seasoned deer hunter and fan of the game meat. The hearty flavors of venison lend themselves well to stews like this one, which packs a lot of flavor into a dish that is high in protein but low in fat and cholesterol. You can buy the curry sauce at Trader Joe’s or in the ethnic aisle of specialty grocery stores.

The recipe involves two phases.

Ingredients

2 cups red lentils, washed
1 cup white onion, minced
1 head of garlic, minced
3 cup vegetable stock
2 cups sweet potato, diced small
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon butter
1½ tablespoons hot madras curry powder
1 bunch broccolini cut into ½-inch pieces

Directions

Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and sweat onions and garlic for a few minutes with curry powder. Add lentils (dry) and toast with butter, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and vegetable stock, bring to a boil and turn heat to the lowest setting and cover for 15 minutes. Add broccolini, stir, and remove from heat (the broccolini is meant to retain its firmness to add texture to the dish).

Ingredients, Part 2

16 ounces venison shoulder, cubed
1 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
15 ounces korma curry sauce
2 teaspoon fig preserves
1½ cup sweet potatoes diced small
2 tablespoons ground cumin

Directions

Season the venison cubes with salt and pepper. Add oil to another large pot or Dutch oven and let it get screaming hot. Add the venison to brown the meat. (If liquid comes from the meat, drain it off and reserve for later.) Add onion, garlic and cumin, cook for 5 minutes, then add sweet potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add korma curry and fig preserves (and browning liquid, if any) and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve the venison atop the lentils on a plate or bowl. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, chives or scallions, if desired.

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