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Venison Curry and Fond Deer Hunting Memories

Posted on 22 June 2010 by Cork Graham

The last deer season on Mindego Hill

The Ziploc read “Stew meat 2008.” I tried to remember the deer from which it was taken. That’s when I remembered 2008 was the last year my good friends, the Caugheys, and I were allowed to hunt the Mindego Hill Ranch.

Though my buddy’s uncle was promised by his father, the Admiral, that he would never have to worry about losing their family’s little bit of heaven on Skyline (now tall and massive, olive trees and fruit trees were planted around the cabin over 40 years ago by the long departed Admiral when he was a professor at Stanford), with an amazing view of not only the San Francisco Bay Area but also the Pacific, the uncle’s mother passed away, and suddenly an $8 Million bill from the state of California arrived: it could only be paid by selling the property.

What a lesson in living trust and wills in California: especially those that were written to guarantee a stress free handing down of land ownership among the middle class…

So what had served as a great source of venison, for at least 25 years—for an Irish/Portuguese-American family that has hunted these San Mateo County mountains since the mid-1800s—was forced out of their hands. Where it ended up was with Open Spaces, which means unless you like to only hike or mountain bike on specific trails—you can’t even walk a dog there—you’re out of luck.

You can already see where the brush—on what were previously cattle ranches and now under Open Spaces ownership—is taking over the feed for the wild animals: in 30 years it’ll all be covered up in non-nutrient brush…the same flora that the local Native Americans had burned over thousands of years in order to keep their venison supply healthy.

Yes, it was a fond goodbye. And though I had hoped to take one of the bruisers that make up the genetic stock of the San Mateo County blacktail bucks, I was happy to get the small forkie.

As I was looking at the bag of stew meat, I recalled how tender those steaks off the young buck were and waited impatiently for the meat to defrost, recalling a recipe for lamb curry that I’ve wanted to adapt to venison.

Cork's Venison Curry with basmati rice, egg and banana slices

Venison Curry Recipe


· 2 lbs of venison stew meat

· 2 large onions, chopped

· 5 cloves of garlic, crushed

· 2 Tbsp olive oil with butter

· 2 Tbsp curry powder

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tsp black pepper

· 1 Meyer lemon sliced (with rind)

· 2 peeled and chopped apples (I like the sweet apples)

· 4 cups of chicken broth

· One can of coconut milk

· 8 small red potatoes, quartered

· 6 eggs


Marinate the venison pieces overnight.

Marinade: grind and mix with 2 Tbsp of olive oil

· 1 Tbsp of coriander seeds

· 1 Tbsp cumin

· 1 Tbsp curry powder

· 1 tsp thyme

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 1/2 tsp pepper


1 On stovetop, brown the meat in a little bit of olive oil in a large pot. Remove the meat from pot.

2 Add olive oil with a little bit of 1 Tbsp of butter to pot, add curry powder, cook on low heat for a minute or two. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Return meat to pot.

3 Add the sliced lemon, apples, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Put pot on stove on low heat and simmer for 3 hours, boiling down until the meat is almost falling apart. In the last 45 minutes remove the cover and put in potatoes and coconut milk. Let the curry boil down to the consistency you like. I prefer it halfway between dry and watery

4 Add eggs in the last 15 minutes (take them out at end, peel and put them back in the curry)

Serve over rice with sides of chutney, banana slices, boiled-egg slices.

Serves 6.

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