Recipe: Venison Adobo
My partner Kris has been saying that I should post one of my recipes that always goes over well: venison adobo. I've made it for Rewild New England gatherings, as well as in general from time to time. The last time I brought it to a gathering, a friend of mine who hadn't eaten red meat for ten years chowed down, remarking that it was the right way to eat red meat. I also quickly became the best friend of his canine companion.
As most of you know, I've been making efforts to get closer to the Filipino side of my family, since the rich heritage of the islands is something I didn't get much exposure to growing up. The name adobo might easily be recognized as also being used to describe Mexican dishes. This reflects the common history of colonization by the Spanish, and in fact the Philippines were governed under the same colonial government centered in Mexico. The term adobo I've heard means 'sauce', so it was easily applied to a common dish which has as it's means of cooking simmering ingredients in a broth/sauce.
The following recipe is part of my synthesis of traditional Filipino cooking, wild cooking experimentation, and my own style. It's one of my favorite ways to prepare meat, because it's easy and it makes the meat very tender. You can put any meat in substitute for the venison, and maybe even some vegetables/fruits. I once tried making eggplant adobo, but messed up the recipe.
-Venison, cut into chunks of about 2"
-Water or broth
Most recipes say to use water and vinegar for the broth to simmer it in. I prefer replacing the water with a homemade bone broth, particularly deer bone broth simmered for over 24 hours. Put your venison into the pot or crock pot, start cooking it, and put just enough of the broth (I usually go for about 2/3 bone broth and 1/3 vinegar) to cover the meat. Add a couple splashes of fish sauce, about 1/2 cup (I use the Filipino patis fish sauce, which can be found at most Asian markets. Some are more concentrated and only require a few shakes). Crush several cloves of garlic into the broth; for a couple pounds of meat 6-10 cloves of garlic is usually good, though I like a lot of garlic. Add the optional ingredients if you want for variety. Simmer this for at least 20 minutes, though my preference is to simmer it for over an hour. In the crock pot I often let it go overnight. I generally prefer to rapidly boil down the broth into a sauce at the end.
Traditionally adobo is served with rice, though I often serve it with veggies.