The following orininally appeared in the Fall edition of SITKA INSIGHT Magazine 003. For more information about Sitka Insight, subscribe now.
Chef Eduardo Garcia’s home, east of Bozeman, Montana, sits in a meadow that backs up to Ted Turner’s legendary Flying D Ranch, in the foothills of the Gallatin River Valley. By the time I arrived at lunchtime on a warm day in late May, Eduardo had already been at work in the kitchen for several hours. Tomatoes, garlic, white onion, and thyme were braising in olive oil in a terracotta bowl on top of the gas range. Garcia’s expansive kitchen was filled with the aroma of the sofrito, the Latin American sauce that Garcia was preparing as a base for the main course — a pozole made with fire-roasted whitetail shoulder.
The whitetail needed a bit more time in the wood oven, so Garcia and I took a stroll around his garden, which takes up about an acre and seasonally provides the bulk of Garcia’s vegetables, greens, and herbs for the year. Instead of neat rows in tilled beds, Garcia’s garden has a wild look to it, with vegetable stalks shooting up from clusters of lamb’s quarters and spinach. “It’s called permaculture,” Garcia told me, chewing on a stalk of lovage, a perennial from the celery family.
Lightly oil and season the venison with salt and pepper. Grill over hardwood coals or gas grill until meat is evenly browned on all sides for approx 1 hr. Let the meat rest off the heat. For the chile puree, gently toast the chiles, then cut them open and remove the seeds and ribs. Submerge chiles in a bowl of hot water for 1 hr. Drain chiles and puree till smooth in a blender with 1 cup of the chicken broth.
In a large pot heat oil and lard over med heat. Add onion, garlic and fresh herbs and sauté, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Next add dry herbs for a quick 5 seconds and immediately add chile puree (watch out for the splatter, liquids and hot oil is tricky, so be careful). Stir continuously for the first minute and then lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Cut venison into very large 4” pieces. Add hominy, remaining chicken broth and venison. Cook for 1-2 hours over low heat or until meat is tender. Season to taste with salt and serve piping hot!
I like to add the below items to a family-style plate for my guests to add as they like to taste.