I don’t consider myself much of a ‘hunter’. Growing up in West Tennessee, I have many friends who hunt and are quite good at it. In fact, when I walk into their homes it sort of looks like a wild game safari lodge with busts of deer heads, robust turkeys and flying ducks all mounted on their walls. My earliest memories of hunting are filled with traumatic memories of dislocated shoulders from the ‘kick’ of a shotgun, aching feet from long hikes and 'shushes' from others in the duck blind.
So while my hunting skills are quite ‘lacking’, I have plenty of friends who enjoy the outdoors and the sport itself. Some of these friends have been known to bring me specimens of game that they have tracked down in the wild. I have had the opportunity to receive wonderful treats like duck breast and venison from friends who hunt regularly. So while I can’t offer them an exchange of wild game, I can offer this recipe.
‘Vietnamese noodles with Grilled Lemongrass Venison' or ‘Bun Thit Nai Nuong Xa’
For those not familiar with Vietnamese food, Vietnamese cuisine is marked by a number of distinct characteristics. First it is typically served with fresh ingredients. Vegetables are cooked briefly to keep their freshness and color. Secondly, Vietnamese food typically includes fresh herbs and vegetables. Lastly, most Vietnamese dishes will contain the five elements of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet. Vietnamese food is also said to appeal to ‘five’ senses. The first is the arrangement of the food that attracts the eyes. Second is the ‘sound’ of the 'crunch' of fresh ingredients attract the ears. Third is ‘spice’ that attracts the tongue. Fourth is the ‘aromatic’ smell that attracts the nose and lastly, some elements become ‘finger food' that is perceived by touching.
Vietnamese food is complex but is made with simple natural ingredients. For this recipe we can start out about a pound and a half of venison or beef, thinly sliced.
Next we will create a marinade. Combine a tsp of salt, 1 tablespoon of Fish Sauce (available in most Asian markets), 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of black pepper, 1 stalk of freshly chopped lemongrass, and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds. Combine these elements and pour them over the venison. Allow to marinate at least one hour. (Longer for a stronger taste)
Next we want to saute the meat. To sauté the meat, place a tablespoon of butter (or butter ghee if available) in a cast iron skillet. Place your venison in the skillet and allow it to cook to your desired color.
Boil a 16 oz. package of vermicelli noodles and drain them.