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Roasted Wild Venison

a plate of food with broccoli

Photo: James Lenhart / Contributor 

Hunting season in Texas has begun, and on a recent visit to Mary’s Ranch in nearby Navasota, I was presented with the leg of a young deer shot hours before on the ranch. If one must eat meat, this is the best way to do it — an animal in the wild, not held captive in some factory farm like many of the animals we eat on a normal basis. Though I have reduced my meat consumption tremendously, when I do indulge, I pay close attention to the provenance of the meat.

In an effort to honor the deer’s life, I went on to marinate it in a medieval spice — kalonji — that adds a subtly smoky flavor to roasted meats. Kalonji pairs beautifully with warm aromatic spices such as cinnamon and cardamom, which in turn create a delicious marinade for slow-cooked meats. This recipe also works beautifully with a leg of lamb.

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