Venison Ragout, Pretzel Snacks and Loaded French Toast

As promised, I had the time to do some cooking and want to share the recipes with you. We have pretzel snacks, venison ragout (or deer stew) and loaded french toast.

Pretzel Snack Deer Stew Loaded French Toast

Often with the holidays, there is too much food and you end up with quite some left-overs and other items, that were supposed to be prepared / eaten in that time, and now go stale or perish.

In a similar way we ended up with a bag of pretzels, and I thought about what to do with them. I enjoy the Pretzel Pieces by Snyder's of Hanover,  especially the honey mustard & onion type. And I thought this would be a great idea to try do make some myself.

Snyder's of Hanover - Pretzel Pieces

For that reason I went online, took a look around for recipe ideas. Unfortunately a lot of these begin with baking your own pretzels and don't use stale ones (for that the further seasoning and moisture would be different to my ingredients).

So I cut up three stale pretzels into finger thick pieces and gave them a good shot of olive oil (you can use vegetable oil as well). Those are the base and now we need a sauce. Pretzel pieces come in different flavours, like Jalapeno, Cheddar, Cool Ranch or the honey mustard variant we're going for today.

Pretzel Snack Pretzel Snack

I had a few little jars of mustard (30g / 1oz) left, from a Tessin mustard themed advent calendar, so I used a jar of Honey Mustard and Fig Mustard each. As the 60g wouldn't be enough, I added a few table spoons of sweet mustard (the kind you use with bavarian Weisswurst), two table spoons of honey and two table spoons left-over chipotle burger sauce. To make it smoother, add 50g butter and 30 ml / 1 fl oz apple vinegar and let it simmer. As I already had flavoured mustard, there was little need to add spices, otherwise I would have added half a tea spoon of smoked paprika, half a tea spoon of kurkuma and one tea spoon onion powder (or grate a quarter onion into it, as I did).

 Pretzel Snack Pretzel Snack Pretzel Snack

Mix the pretzel bits and the sauce, spread them out on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for an 1h - 1,5h at 100°C (~210° F). Flip / stir halfway through. Let it cool afterwards for 20-30 minutes and they're good to go. Make sure to cover them (or put them in tupperware) if you plan to eat them later, as they might become soggy. Makes for a great game night snack.

Pretzel Snack

The main meal for christmas eve was a venison ragout or deer stew. Alternatives to the deer meat could be wild boar or rabbit. I preordered 600g (a bit more than 2 lb.) at my local butcher, Metzgerei Herz, and I can not thank them enough for the good quality meat they provided me with. Very tender, a very nice game taste and next to no work to prepare the meat before seasoning for me.

As we're having a small child, we may need to be flexible with the actual time for dinner, so a stew seemed like a good idea, as I could let it simmer on low heat, if we needed more time. I found a recipe on chefkoch and by the Sauerländer BBCrew, that I used for orientation.

Deer Stew Deer Stew Deer Stew

If you got the meat on a larger portion, cut it into one inch dice (my butcher already took care of that) and pat the meat dry. Season it with pepper and salt, and coat it with flour. Get a big pot, heat it up with a bit of butter in it, and brown the cubes from all sides. Remove the meat from the pot, but leave the fond. We want that and we need that for the further flavour.

Deer Stew Deer Stew Deer Stew

Prepare the vegetables. I used a leek, a large carrot, half a box of mushrooms (I went with brown champignons, chanterelles would be a great/better choice taste ways to go with game) and half an onion (you could use a charlotte for a sharper taste) and cut them into larger pieces.

Deer Stew Deer Stew

Mix the vegetables, glaze them in the pot and add 0,5 l / 1 pint of liquid (game stock, as you don't want to dilute the taste) and let it simmer. Add the meat to the pot. Add a bay leaf. Thyme, marjoram, and ... ginger bread spices into the mix (got the idea from the youtube video). The ginger bread spice mix uses a lot of spices, that I'd use anyway, like clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Deer Stew Deer Stew Deer Stew

Once the liquid reduces, add 0,25 / a half-pint of either red wine or a beer (Stout or Porter) to the stew. Depending on what taste you want to create, you could go with a dry red wine and port mix, if you want to use wine. In case of beer, I had a Guinness at hand but you could use Schwarzer Abt or Köstritzer. Let it further simmer and after half an hour, add a bit of creme fraiche / double. Give it a good stirr and reduce further.

Deer Stew

This goes well with bread dumplings, broad egg noodles or spätzle and a side of red cabbage. Add a proper dab of cranberries and sprinkle some thyme over it. Enjoy.

So after a snack on the 23rd, a proper dinner on the 24th, we need something sweet to start the next morning and I went with loaded french toast. I got the idea from Sam the Cooking Guy and a Vice/Munchies How to episode.

Loaded French Toast Loaded French Toast

I used store bought brioche bread and cut into thick slices (roughly an inch thick). Cut the slices about three quarters in to form a pouch and smother a sweet spread on it. There is no need for butter or similar, for a base. I went with Nutella, peanutbutter / strawberry jam and raspberry jam for the four toasts.

Loaded French Toast Loaded French Toast

Next prepare an egg-mix. I used two eggs, half a cup of milk / cream, a proper pinch of sugar and cinnamon. You could put some vanilla into it, if you like. Mix it up well and dip the bread on both sides into it and bake it in butter in a pre-heated pan on medium to low heat.

Loaded French Toast

Don't overcrowd the pan, you can keep them warm in an baking dish in the oven while you prepare more. When you serve them, sprinkle the toasts with powdered sugar and more sugar/cinnamon to your liking. You can give it a bit of honey or maple syrup on top.

You can find other recipes on here as well.

Posted by Dennis B.

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