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5 pound Venison Leg
2 cups Romano Cheese, grated
2 cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
6 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
6 Eggs
Tomato Sauce (lots)

Some Parsley
Some Oregano
Some Rosemary
Some Thyme

Toothpicks or String

1) Prepare the filling: I started by beating two eggs in a smallish bowl, and added the breadcrumbs and cheese in until it felt right. I'd say about a cup of breadcrumbs and 1/2 to 2/3 cup (total) of blended cheese. You're going to have to mix this by hand. It should be a wet, sticky mess that more or less holds it's shape.

Chop (or food process) the various herbs, then mix those in the filling as well.

I started with about an ounce of each herb, fresh; I made about three batches of that filling and still had herbs left over to throw in the sauce later. But seriously, this is by your palate. Exact numbers are superfluous.

2) Prepare the vension: We cut slices about 1/2 inch thick, and then pounded it as flat as reasonably possible, maybe to 1/4 inch thick.

3) Stuff the venison: Because these still ended up being (relatively) small, in an area sense, we just added a healthy gob of the stuffing on each one and wrapped them up like little burritos, then fastened them with a toothpick.

4) Braise the venison: Put some reasonable amount of tomato sauce into a stock pot, then put the venison wraps in the sauce. This will depend on your pot and the quantity you make, but basically you just want to cover the meat. Season the sauce to taste (I added excess herbs, salt, and pepper to taste. Had I remembered, I would have added a splash of red wine.) Simmer for several hours. (Seriously, there is otherwise raw egg in that filling, all the way at the center. Make sure it's cooked.)

Notes:

A) Traditionally this is done with beef, something that can be sliced thin but with a large area, like a flank steak. Probably skirt steak would be exquisite.

B) Because that's usually larger in area than the venison cut I used, you traditionally put a layer of the stuffing on each steak, then roll it up. The cross section will look like a pin-wheel, and because they're taller you'll need more tomato sauce to cover them and will need to cook them longer.

C) (Just as a side note, what I did was more akin to a Czech dish called... well, phonetically called "thatchy". It's about the size of what I made, but uses thin round steak and a stuffing of finely chopped bacon, onions, and garlic.)

D) That stuffing can be pretty much whatever the hell you want, in my opinion. What I put in was traditional. What I forgot to put in was pine nuts (which, by the way, would have made it even better.)

One day, I will experiment with a sweeter filling-- I'm thinking mascarpone instead of parmesan and romano, and dried cranberry or raisins instead of pine nuts. But I wouldn't spring that on y'all without a taste test, first.

E) People kept asking me what I did to the sauce. IT WAS HUNTS FRICKING TOMATO SAUCE, PEOPLE! I put very tasty venison and fresh herbs into it, is what I did.

F) I liked the chile well enough, but I fucking loved this. You're all lucky I didn't take the pot and leave you to fight over the chile.
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November 2011

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