Whitetail Hunting photo

_This recipe appears in the February 2013 issue of Field & Stream, on newsstands now.



The ultimate Super Bowl indulgence: nachos loaded with bubbling cheddar and shredded venison that’s been slow-cooked with chipotles and spices and then quickly seared–in the style of Mexico’s legendary pork carnitas–for some crispy, hyper-flavored edges. You may forget about the game altogether.

-About 2 lb. venison roast, trimmed and cut into substantial chunks (1 1/2 inch or so)
-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-1 Tbsp. juniper berries
-2 Tbsp. ground cumin
-2 Tbsp. oregano
-4 bay leaves
-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
-4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
-1/4 cup lard (or olive oil)
-Tortilla chips
-8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-For garnishing: limes, chopped cilantro, sour cream
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Pat the venison dry with paper towels, and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the venison, in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer the browned pieces to a plate. Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, then add the juniper berries, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, chipotles, and generous dashes of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and cook for about 30 seconds more. Add the chicken stock along with the reserved venison and any juices on the plate. Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the venison is very tender but not quite falling apart. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes more, until the liquid has almost evaporated.
2. Remove the venison with a slotted spoon, transferring it to a plate. Discard any remaining liquid and solids and clean and dry the pot. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat and add the lard or olive oil. When hot, add the reserved venison pieces in batches and fry them, until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Shred the pieces when cool enough to handle.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange tortilla chips on a sheet pan or, ideally, an ovenproof serving platter. Sprinkle the cheese over the chips, distributing evenly, then do the same with the shredded venison. Place in the oven and cook or until the cheese has melted and the venison is sizzling.
4. Garnish as desired: a few dollops of sour cream, some cilantro, a few squeezes of lime. You can add guacamole or pickled jalapeños, as desired. Serve immediately. Serves at least 6.