One of my favorite dishes is biryani. Typically this is served with lamb in most of the restaurants I’ve visited. I was curious to see how it would work with venison, although I had very few doubts.
I think this is a perfect recipe for venison. The flavor profile pairs well with venison, and the cooking method is slow.
Another benefit here is the yogurt marinating. Most hunters or wild game enthusiasts have come across the term gamey before, and one known solution to wild food labeled as gamey is to marinate in dairy, typically milk, buttermilk, or yogurt.
There is no doubt that this recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, as do most Indian dishes. However, it also makes a large amount so that you can freeze some for later.
Although there are a lot of spices used, this recipe is a little on the milder side.
Spices: there is a long list of spices in this list, and each plays an important role. If you have Kashmiri chili powder, you could use that in place of the cayenne and paprika.
The garam masala can be store-bought, or you can make your own.
Rice: I generally use basmati rice or jasmine rice. Long grain tends to work a little better. This recipe will not work well with short-grain rice as it will become too sticky.
A lot is going on in this recipe with the cooking, but there’s no need to panic. Everything about this recipe is slow, from marinating, cooking the meat, and cooking the whole dish in the oven.
After you have your meat marinated and spices toasted, the meat is cooked in a dutch oven on the stovetop. This is to make the venison nice and tender and marry it with the sauces.
Later the meat is layered with the rice. I generally layer the rice right on top of the meat, but you could make two layers if you prefer.
Before placing it in the oven, it’s crucial to seal the pot. This will prevent the dish from drying out, and the steam is used for cooking the rice.
- 2 pounds venison any cut, diced
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 large white or yellow onions or 3 medium
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons nigella sativa
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt kala namak salt if you have
- 1 cup game stock or beef stock
- 2.5 cups basmati rice
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
- Add the venison, garlic, ginger, half the mint, half the cilantro, and half the coriander to a bowl or Ziploc bag. Pour over the yogurt and mix. Place in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
- Slice the onions thinly and evenly lengthwise. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a pan over low heat. Add onions and cook slowly, occasionally turning until the onions brown.
- Place a dutch oven over low heat, add the cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, nigella sativa, cloves, and remaining coriander, and lightly toast for 30-60 seconds.
- Add 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot. Add in turmeric, garam masala, paprika, and cayenne.
- Add in half the caramelized onions. Add in the meat along with the marinade, pour over the stock, and stir.
- Cover pot and simmer on low until meat is tender (around 2 hours)
- Add 5 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Add rice and parboil for 2 minutes. Drain rice and cool it under running water.
- Warm the milk gently over low heat. Break up saffron threads and place into milk; set aside.
- Once the venison is tender, remove the lid and reduce the liquid to a thick sauce over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Set the oven to 350f
- Remove the pot from the heat, and loosely spread rice on top of the meat. Pour the saffron milk over the rice, and top with onions and butter.
- Cover the rice with aluminum foil, place the lid on top, and set in the oven for 30-40 minutes