Rootsy Americana Food
By Andrew Zimmern
In this episode of Wild Game Kitchen, I prepare one of my favorite comfort foods, a rootsy Americana meal of chicken fried axis deer, cream gravy and ashed potatoes, cooked directly in the hot coals.
Chicken Fried Deer with Cream Gravy and Ashed Potatoes
Chicken Fried Deer
- 2 pounds axis deer, top or bottom round cut from the leg
- 2 quarts peanut or canola oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 pounds new potatoes, small Yukon golds or Red Bliss
- Vegetable oil
Cut the meat into 4 pieces. Pound each steak until it is roughly 1/3-inch thick, using the flat side of a meat mallet. Then take the spiky, sharp side of the mallet and pound each side of the steak uniformly. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large cast iron skillet to 375 degrees F. In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, onion powder, baking powder, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk in a separate shallow dish. Place the cornstarch in a third large shallow dish.
Working one steak at a time, dredge in cornstarch. Lift steak, shake off excess cornstarch, then transfer to egg mixture. Coat steak well in egg mixture, lift steak, letting excess egg drain off, then transfer to seasoned flour mixture. Coat steak well, pressing seasoned flour all over to help it adhere to the meat. Repeat until all steaks are ready for the fryer.
Carefully place each steak in the oil. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Reserve to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season with salt.
Working quickly, pour the oil out of the pot and into a large metal work bowl to cool, reserving a few tablespoons and the sticky bits in the bottom of the pot.
Return pan to the heat. Add the onion, thyme sprig, nutmeg, cayenne and flour to the reserved oil. Cook and stir for about a minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer steaks to plates, top with gravy, and serve immediately with the potatoes.
For the Ashed Potatoes:
Place potatoes in a grill basket. Place directly on top of the coals, toss potatoes in the strainer every 7 minutes to rotate. After about 30 minutes they all should be tender and toasty scorched. Serve with the meat and gravy.