Took about 2.5lbs of venison stew meat out of the freezer yesterday. Wasn't sure of what I wanted to do with it today.
Chose Mexican, Ended up making a mole sauce from scratch. Added the venison and a big pile of peppers and onion, and let it slow cook for 3+ hrs. Served with brown rice and tortilla shells. Turned out fantastic. Just enough spice to get your attention.
It's pretty simple to make, but is time consuming. Starts with a handful of a variety of dried chili peppers (I used anchos, pasillas, and guajillos), toast the dried peppers in a dry pan for about 20 seconds per side. They should just start to smoke and turn fragrant. After they've cooled enough to handle, split them open to remove the seeds and tear them into big pieces. Add a little oil to a hot pan, add a can of crushed tomatoes, let it sizzle for a bit, turn down the heat to let it simmer, add the toasted chili peppers and a couple of chipotles. Add some stock as needed to thin the liquid out. You're not making a paste. Salt, pepper, cumin. Simmer for 20-30 minutes to soften the dried peppers. Pour the whole mess into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid through a strainer and push it through to separate out the chunky stuff and seeds. In a hot pan, saute a big heap of peppers, onions, and garlic until all the water they produce evaporates, pour in the mole sauce, and add the meat. Cover and put in a 300 degree oven until the meat is tender. Serve with rice and tortilla shells to sop up that delicious sauce.
A beer is required as a side.
The transformation of the ingredients is amazing. Right out of the blender the sauce tastes tomato-y and a little bitter. But after caramelizing in the oven for a few hours, the sauce becomes amazingly deep colored and rich. It doesn't taste at all like tomato anymore. The peppers take over and the sugars in the tomatoes caramelize and the whole thing gets real earthy and smoky.
I might go back for seconds later.