NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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80 NEBRASKAland • JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017 Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Salad Treat your dinner guests to a taste of the woods. By Jenny Nguyen M y brother, Ngoc, came out to visit me in November. As a Californian, he's had little opportunity to enjoy wild game, so I promised him that we would feast. But I also didn't want to spend hours cooking in the kitchen while there were other things to do and see near Omaha. On the night he arrived, I served this dish along with a charcuterie and cheese board, French bread and chilled rosé wine. Cooked to medium rare, this venison loin and mushroom salad recipe is simple, light and will allow your dinner guest(s) to truly taste the venison. Ngoc has also never had morels before, so this dish was a small taste of wild Nebraska. (In case you're wondering, the mushrooms were dried, and I've been saving them for a special occasion such as this, but a ny mushroom will do.) And if you're making this dish in the spring, perhaps you can also find wild dandelions and asparagus to truly make this a completely hunted and foraged meal. Sorry about the vague measurements. For recipes like these, I use what we have on hand and stretch the ingredients as necessary. Nothing has to be exact – season to your liking. Servings: 4 Prep Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: • Venison loin, about 2 pounds • Kosher salt • Fresh coarse ground pepper, to taste • 1 tablespoon of olive oil • 1 package of mixed greens with arugula • Thinly sliced red onion • 1 tomato, diced • French vinaigrette (Brianna's brand) • Goat cheese, optional • Morel mushrooms or other, fresh or dried • Splash of cognac, whiskey or brandy • Shallots, thinly sliced • Chives, chopped • Butter • Steak sauce, optional Directions: 1. Remove all silver skin from venison loin. Allow meat to rest at room temperature for 1 hour prior to cooking. This will help the meat cook more evenly, especially if you're aiming for medium rare. If using dried mushrooms, pour boiled water over mushrooms. Mushrooms should reconstitute in about 20 minutes. Drain and pat mushrooms dry before cooking. 2. Pat venison dry with paper towels. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper all over loin. Over medium high heat, heat olive oil in a pan large enough to accommodate meat. When oil is nice and hot, sear venison loin for about 2 minutes on all four sides, plus the two ends, to get a nice crust all over. You'll have to use tongs to keep the loin upright while searing. Once browned, loosely wrap loin in foil to rest for 5 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on loin size.) 3. In the same pan, add butter. Add sliced shallot and cook until soft, about 2-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms have given up most of their moisture and are slightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Add a splash of cognac, whiskey or brandy and cook until alcohol is mostly evaporated. Take off heat, season with salt and pepper and chopped chives. Add a little more butter. 4. Toss greens, tomato, red onion and French vinaigrette. Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar to your salad as necessary. Crumble goat cheese with a fork (your hands will melt the cheese and make it too gooey) and sprinkle on top of salad. Slice venison loin into medallions and serve with the salad and mushrooms. ■ This recipe and photograph originally appeared on Jenny's Food for Hunters blog at PHOTO BY JENNY NGUYEN

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