The weekend is nearly upon us and we are after some comfort food – in the form of some crunchy cheesy goodness – Venison Nachos! Now, as you may have noticed, we do not generally conform to the traditional when it comes to cooking over fire, we like to bend the rules a little and make it work for us.
Instead of using minced venison to create the classic chilli base for our venison nachos, we are going to use a whole bone in shoulder and cook it low and slow until it is meltingly tender and the bone just slides out. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than sloppy mince chilli that makes your tortillas go all soggy! Once the shoulder is fork tender, we lightly shred it and gently stir it through the reduced sauce. The shoulder will benefit from being marinaded in the spices overnight, so allow an extra day in your prep.
As the shoulder cooks gently over the embers, you can tend to the salsa, spending some time charring the veggies until almost tender, but retaining some of their crunch. Charring the veg straight in the coals will blister and pop the skins allowing smoke to penetrate through into the flesh of the veg.
The tortilla chips you use is entirely down to you, they can be plain, flavoured or whatever takes your fancy. We like to use tortilla chips from the Cool Chili Company. They sell great tortillas and have a massive range of ingredients including fresh tortillas for tacos and a plethora of spices, chillies and other Mexican ingredients.
As these nachos are cooked over fire, the best way to melt that cheese so it’s nice and gooey is to take a log from the fire with a pair of long tongs and hold it just above the surface of the cheese. Make sure the log is flaming and it should melt the cheese in no time. We would say that the cheese, wild garlic seed capers and burnt salsa are a must – but feel free to add your own flourishes.
This venison shoulder should yield plenty of leftovers. Heated in a skillet the venison should go slightly crispy, or stuff the reheated chilli into coal baked sweet potatoes, tacos or even use it as a pie mix! (Alternatively freeze for up to three months until your ready for more nachos)!
2 medium white onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
A few sprigs of oregano or wild marjoram
1 kg bone in fallow venison shoulder
2 tbsp Salt Box BBQ Barn Blend
1 chipotle chilli
Salt and pepper to taste
A drizzle of rape seed oil
50g tomato puree
150ml Crumbs Brewing Amber lager
200ml venison or game stock
½ tin chopped tomatoes
Tortillas – as many as you feel is appropriate?!
Grated cheese, a mix of your favourites
The day before you cook your fallow chilli, you need to marinade the shoulder.
Rub the shoulder all over with a little rapeseed oil and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the Salt Box BBQ Barn Blend and rub into the meat well. Place into a container, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Take the fallow shoulder out of the fridge at least an hour before you intend to cook it.
As always, set up your fire pit with three heat zones, raking out the hot embers into a nice bed in the middle third of your fire pit and keeping the back third stoked with a couple of logs to keep generating those hot embers.
Place a dutch oven or heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and allow to warm. Add in a drizzle of the rapeseed oil followed by the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and chipotle chilli. Saute the veg for a few minutes and allow to soften. Add in the oregano and tomato paste, cook for a minute or two before adding in the beer. Reduce the beer by a third and top up with the stock and the chopped tomatoes. Bring back to the simmer and move to the coolest part of the fire.
Place the fallow shoulder onto the grill and cook over a medium heat, the spices will want to burn so make sure you keep it moving, turning it every so often.
Once the fallow shoulder has a nice deep dark caramelised crust, place it into the dutch oven and place the lid on. Bring the pot back up to a simmer and cook ever so gently until the shoulder is completely tender.
Check in on the pot every now and again, topping up with a little more stock or water if needed. The shoulder will need to cook for up to three hours so make sure you tend the fire whilst it cooks keeping a consistent heat throughout. As the shoulder cooks, you can char off your vegetables for the burnt salsa (if you are making it).
Once the shoulder is cooked, remove the bones with a pair of tongs and gently break up the meat, stirring it into the sauce. If the sauce is still a little wet, move the pot over a slightly higher heat and reduce it carefully making sure not to burn the bottom of the pan.
Place the tortilla chips into a flame proof dish or tray and ladle the venison chilli on top. Scatter over a good handful or two of cheese and take a burning log from the fire with a pair of tongs and your firegloves on! Use the flaming log to grill the cheese, until it is completely melted.
Garnish with the burnt salsa, the wild garlic seed capers and anything else you want to put on your nachos!
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The shoulder will benefit from being marinaded in the spices overnight, so allow an extra day in your prep.
This venison shoulder should yield plenty of leftovers. Heated in a skillet the venison should go slightly crispy, so one idea is to stuff the reheated chilli into coal baked sweet potatoes, tacos or even use it as a pie mix! Alternatively freeze for up to three months until your ready for more nachos.
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