Last night a few of us attended the annual National Magazine Awards (magazines’ version of the Oscars). We were nominated for two awards, General Excellence and best Leisure Interest story for “America’s Meat”, our tribute to venison from the December 2009-January 2010 issue.


Unfortunately, we came up short in both categories. And our story about venison lost to a story about pizza. Hey, we love a good slice–but not half as much as a slice of backstrap. But we’ll let you be the judge. What would you rather eat: pizza or this venison shoulder dish pictured here (recipe below), courtesy of chef John Besh?

Maybe for next year’s awards we’ll come back with a story about venison pizza. Actually, that sounds pretty darn good…

Venison Shoulder Roast with Wild Mushrooms, Apples, and Turnips

Ingredients — Serves 6


1 shoulder of venison

1⁄4 cup bacon drippings

2 onions, diced small

1 carrot, peeled and diced small

1 celery stalk, diced small

1⁄4 cup all- purpose flour

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

2 apples, any type, cored and diced

2 oz. dried porcini or chanterelle mushrooms

2 cups beef broth

1 cup apple juice

1 cup red wine

1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 sprig rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 dash sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste


1 lb. turnips, peeled and diced

1⁄2 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced

1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter, diced

Salt, to taste



1. Season venison shoulder with salt and pepper. Over high heat, add bacon drippings to pot, then brown venison on both sides.

2. Remove venison, then add onion, carrot, and celery. Reduce heat to medium and stir while cooking, until vegetables have become mahogany in color. Then stir in flour. When flour has been well incorporated, add garlic, tomato, apple, and dried mushroom.

3. Let mixture come to a boil before slowly stirring in beef broth, apple juice, and red wine. Raise heat to high and bring it to a boil again. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sugar, and venison shoulder.

4. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cover pot. Cook for 2 hours, or until meat begins to pull from the bone with a fork. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

5. Remove from heat. Take out venison shoulder and carefully pull meat from the bone. Return meat to the cooking liquid until ready to serve.


1. Place turnips and potatoes in a pot and fill with enough water to cover vegetables. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, or until turnips become soft.

2. Drain vegetables and transfer to food-processor bowl. Add butter, and puree mixture. Season to taste with salt.

Serving Tip: Place a large spoonful of turnip puree on a plate. On top, serve a generous spoonful or two of the venison shoulder with sauce.