THIS IS a beautiful—and beautifully simple—dish inspired by an age-old goat preparation from the Mediterranean island of Crete. In traditional tsigariasto, cleavered chunks of bone-in goat meat are slowly braised with spring onions, oregano, olive oil, and just a splash of white wine—the succulent bone marrow infusing the braising liquid as it bubbles. To achieve that same effect, we use the often-disregarded venison neck, cleavered or sawed into 3-inch pieces—but bone-in chunks from any part of the deer are welcome here. (If CWD is a concern, use boneless stew meat.) Have some crusty bread on hand for sopping up the liquid.
2–2½ lbs. venison neck, bone-in, cleavered into roughly 3-inch pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
14 oz. bag frozen pearl onions
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup dry white wine
6 sprigs fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
After you’ve browned the venison pieces, set them aside and deglaze the pot with pearl onions and wine. Christopher Testani; food and prop styling by Roscoe Betsill
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously season the venison with salt and pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven or large lidded pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add about half the venison, taking care not to crowd the pan, and brown the meat for about 8 minutes, turning frequently, until richly colored. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining venison.
3. Add the onions. (Stand back, as they may splatter.) Using a wooden spoon, stir the onions while scraping the bottom of the pan to release any of the browned bits. Cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the dried oregano and stir for another 30 seconds or so.
4. Add the wine, and keep stirring as it comes to a boil. Let it boil for a minute or so, to reduce a bit, then return the meat to the pot. Drape the fresh oregano sprigs over the meat, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven.
5. Cook for about 1½ hours, or until the meat is very tender. Serve immediately. Feeds four
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