VENISON BARLEY SOUP
 

This is my second favorite way to eat venison. It makes use of a rarely-used part, the neck. The neck of a large buck has a surprisingly large amount of meat - doe necks, not so much. The question is, how does one use the neck. Because the muscles are tightly intertwined around the various vertebral processes, the easiest way to recover them is to cook them off.
 

This recipe requires a fair amount of work, but it does freeze very well, so make LOTS of it. When thawed and re-heated, it's usually better than the first time eaten. In fact, for this recipe, I made a double batch (including two necks), froze it, and will bring it to our Monday Night Football event at my Knights of Columbus hall. It will be to die for. It was a perfect batch. Read about it below.

Some final notes: Even though this recipe requires a lot of cooking time, you can complete each step at different times. You can roast the bones weeks before making the stock, just store them in the freezer. The stock also stores well in the freezer. Use a tight container to prevent freezer burn. This recipe is a bit like pizza or salad in that you can add just about anything that you want. If there is a particular ingredient that you are fond of, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to add it to this recipe. Just be careful not to add anything that will detract from the intense but smooth venison flavor.

Special thanks goes to my wife Lori, who is the true creator of this recipe.
 

The first thing you'll want to do is to make the soup stock. Stock is the foundation of good soup, so make it out of the best materials available. Slather some deer bones with olive oil and place them on a bed of fresh thyme. Roast them in the oven for a few hours at 225 deg F.

Any bones will work. These happen to be the femurs and tibias from a bow-shot doe, Oct., 2008.



Cut the roasted bones from the previous step to fit into a 6 qt pot. I used a band saw.

Add:
4 qts. water
3-4 carrots
3-4 celery stalks
1/2 onion, w/ skin
1/4 cup fresh parsley

Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 hours.
(Given that I made this the day after Thanksgiving, I had a lot of left-over turkey giblets, skin, etc. so I threw that in as well.)
 


After simmering, strain the contents, reserving the liquid.
Cover it, and let it cool. An unheated garage in winter  works well. If you use a refrigerator, first let the stock cool on the stove for a few hours.

The fat that collects at the top adds flavor, but the stock has so much flavor already that I discard the extra fat. You will be left with a light brown gelatinous goo that is worth it's culinary weight in gold.


In a 6-qt pot add:
4 qt of stock. If you don't have enough stock, add water. For each qt. of water, add a teaspoon of beef "bouillon" paste. Add:

1 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 large deer neck

You may have to halve the neck to make it fit.

Bring to a boil then simmer until the meat can be separated from the bones with a fork, about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Remove the bones as soon as the meat can be separated.


Add:

1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
Return to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

2 cups baby carrots
10 oz package frozen green or yellow
(or mixed) beans, cut to 1-in. lengths.

You can use whatever frozen vegetables you like.
The idea is to get some variety and some nice color.
Return to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

1-1 cups Medium Quaker Barley.
Less barley will provide more broth. More will make it stew-like.
Continue simmering for 20-30 min., or until the barley is fully expanded.
 


Serve and enjoy.

A perfect compliment is a Guinness stout, or other full-bodied beer, in this case, my homebrewed Black Stout.