In Connecticut, deer hunting season began on November 17th this year. I'm lucky enough to have a father who loves game hunting, and every year he brings home pheasant or deer from a shooting trip. He does the full nose-to-tail thing - from "dressing" the deer in the field, transporting it from the woods to our home, and prepping it in the cold air (read: hanging it out to age), to breaking it down into cuts of amazing, locally sourced venison. It's fresher than any restaurant menu offering, and it really encourages us to be creative and thrifty in the kitchen. My dad's enthusiasm for the sport is one of the many things I admire about him, and he's just begun to teach me how to hunt (and do the nose-to-tail duties that follow), too. In a time when knowing where your food comes from is a central concern among chefs, cooks and eaters alike, what's better than that?
While we've got a repertoire of recipes for venison - chili, stew, seared steaks, even sausage - we've never made burgers from our precious loot. However, chefs and authors of the British Larder, Madalene and Ross, just posted a recipe on their wonderful blog that's got my creative juices flowing. The day after Thanksgiving this past weekend, my father got his first deer of the season, and tonight, I'll propose their Venison Burger with Parsnip Fries as our first meal of the season.