Mexican flavors abound in this boldly seasoned dish by Mark Cockcroft. Poblanos usually have a pleasant mild heat but for a less spicy version try a large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper. You can also use venison bone broth as a decent substitute for the milk in the sauce though it won’t be as creamy. Masa harina is corn flour used to make tortillas and helps thicken the sauce and works really well with the other classic Mexican ingredients. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes, or with a few corn tortillas if you wish.
RECIPE BY MARK COCKCROFT
- 2 lbs venison strip loin
- 1 cup whole milk (can sub with bone broth)
- 1 poblano chile (can sub with red, orange, or yellow bell pepper)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (stems and leaves)
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp Ancho chile powder
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp masa harina or all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
First, roast the poblano under the broiler or over an open flame until the skin is blackened all over, about 5-10 minutes then place in a bowl and cover to let steam for at least 15 minutes.
Next, in a small bowl, mix together the chile and cocoa powder, black pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
When chiles have steamed and are cool enough to handle, rub all blackened skin off and remove stem, seeds, and ribs. Roughly chop and put in a blender along with the garlic, cilantro, masa harina, milk, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Add the sauce to a small saucepan and gently heat over low, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken. If the sauce is too thick add a splash of milk, if it’s too thin add another tsp of masa. Taste and season with salt as needed. Keep warm.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Liberally sprinkle the spice rub all over the venison.
Add the oil to the pan and then the venison. Cook, turning often until richly browned and done to your liking (I like medium rare – pulled at about 125F – about 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut). Let rest on a cutting board for a few minutes.
Drizzle sauce on 4 plates and add rice or mashed potatoes. Cut venison into thick slices and place on top of sauce. Sprinkle with a sprinkle of sauce. Enjoy!