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RECIPE: TIKKA MASALA STRIPLOIN

Pan-sear

PREP: 15 Minutes COOK: 60 Minutes

Serves 3-4

Difficulty: Intermediate
RECIPE BY MARK COCKCROFT
The main components of this dish have traveled far from their origins in this delicious pairing. While harvested in Hawaiʻi, Axis deer are originally from India and tikka masala is a British creation with Indian roots as well. Reunited (sort of) and it tastes so good! The strip loin is mild, juicy, and very tender and the sauce rich with spices, bright tomatoes and cilantro for a nice tingle of heat finished off with a decadent glug of cream. We highly recommend using ghee, if possible, for the best flavor. Serve with steamed basmati rice. 
Ingredients
  • 2 packs of Strip Loin
  • 3 Tbsp ghee or neutral oil
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Kashmiri chile or cayenne
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt or whole milk
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup minced cilantro, divided
  • lemon wedges for serving
Directions
STEP 1:

In a small bowl, mix together cardamom, paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Set aside.

STEP 2:

Place a medium pot over medium heat and add the ghee. When melted, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just browned around the edges.

STEP 3:

Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the spice mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often. 

STEP 4:

Add the tomato paste and thoroughly stir into the onion mixture. Cook for another minute.

STEP 5:

Add the tomatoes and 1 tsp salt to the pot. Rinse out the can with about 1/4 cup water and add that into the pot as well. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

STEP 6:

Add in the cream, yogurt, and 1/2 cup cilantro to the pot. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. 

STEP 7:

Let sauce cool and puree in a blender. Check for seasoning and add salt and chile if necessary. Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the strip loin. 

STEP 8:

Place a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the remaining Tbsp of ghee. Add the strip loin and cook, turning every minute or so, until richly browned and done to your liking. (For medium rare - about 125F on an instant thermometer - about 4-5 minutes total). Let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. 

STEP 9:

Spoon the sauce among 4 plates or shallow bowls. Cut the venison into 1" thick slices and place on top of sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!

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