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Recipe: Venison heart tartare

venison heart tartare on white trays recipe by Chesapeake TASTEBill Schindler, a professor at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., is an avid hunter and forager. Here he shares a recipe for one of his favorites dishes: Venison Heart Tartare, served with elderberries, pickles, mushrooms, and shallots.


Bill adapted this recipe from "Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal" by Jennifer McLagan.

Venison heart tartare

1 small cooked beet, finely diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons lacto-fermented elderberry buds, rinsed and drained well (recipe follows)

Beefsteak polypore mushroom, thinly sliced

Worchestershire sauce

Extra virgin olive oil

Fleur de sel

Freshly ground black pepper

Chile powder

½ pound well-trimmed venison heart

1 egg yolk from local, pastured chickens

1. Organize a platter with small bowls or piles of the beet, cornichons, shallot, and fermented elderberry buds. Place the Worchestershire sauce, extra virgin olive oil, fleur de sel, pepper grinder, and chile powder alongside. Slice the beefsteak polypore mushroom and arrange neatly on plate.

2. Cut the heart into pieces and place them on a board. Using a large, sharp chef's knife, continue chopping until the texture is fine.

3. Arrange the chopped heart in a mound on the plate, and then make a small depression in the top of the pile and slip in the egg yolk.

Lacto-fermented elderberries

This recipe is adapted from a recipe given to me by a good friend and expert forager, Steve Adams.

2 cups green, unripe elderberries (rinsed)

¼ cup salt

1 cup water

1. Mix the salt and water together in a quart-sized mason jar.

2. Add rinsed, unripe elderberries.

3. Cover jar and sit on a countertop at room temperature until fermentation is visible. You should begin to see bubbles forming and rising to the surface. This should take approximately 3-4 days.

4. Transfer to refrigerator where fermentation will slow, but continue.

5. Continue to taste until the acidity level is to your liking. Can be used immediately or stored for months in the refrigerator.

Read more about Bill and foraging in the April 2012 issue of TASTE, or online at best meal I ever caught.

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