Cooking with Anime by Emily Bushman
Here we are again, another one of Soma's recipes, another chance for me to lose my mind, cooking my life away in my non-professional grade kitchen. I gotta say, I love cooking food from Food Wars! because of the challenges it presents, but I also have to say that it can be really tough trying to recreate the food from this show using a kitchen that is barely adequate for more than the basic home cook would need, let alone an aspiring gourmet chef.
Nonetheless, I see, and therefore I must eat. At the end of each cooking adventure with this show, it's almost a 100% guarantee that I'll fall in love with whatever I make. As expected, that is exactly what happened here! Thanks again to Keith, my friend in Alaska, I was able to get a spectacular cut of venison, from which I could cut my own steaks. Using this fabulous cut of meat, I was able to master the charcoal grill to make Soma's dish as close to perfect as I could get it. It turned out perfectly! And I got to learn lots of techniques as I went along.
Soma takes a pretty traditional sauce- Fond du Veau- and adds his signature kick to it. Soma has a way of taking the ordinary and totally turning it on its head using just a few simple ingredients. In this case, the ingredients are the ready-peeled chestnuts, orange zest, and espresso powder. These ingredients take the rich, flavorful undertones of the fond du veau and add a kick to it that pairs exceptionally well with the charcoal grilled venison. The orange zest tempers it a bit, but only enough to provide some needed contrast, which, in turn, heightens the flavors even more.
Let's talk about the surprise ingredient of this dish- Chestnuts! Just like in the anime, I was able to find the perfect chestnuts to use- the ones straight out of a bag! They are a fun ingredient to work with and provide a subtly sweet element to the dish that are perfect. I would not recommend leaving these guys out- they contrast really nicely with the venison and the fond du veau. A bit of chestnut and venison together- oh my gosh, I couldn't get enough of it! You can find the exact kind Soma uses online, but I was able to find a dupe in my local Asian supermarket.
A note on the charcoal grill- I couldn't find one like Soma's, so I settled for my apartment's grill, which is open for anyone to use. If you have patience, you can light it naturally- this takes a good hour or so to get going, and to let the coals get hot enough to cook. You MUST wait for the coals to get hot enough to cook with or the meat won't get hot enough to be safe and it won't get a nice sear. The coals should be white hot, literally, before you start grilling. I used a fan to keep the smoke blowing onto the meat to provide the additional flavor, and it paid off- the smokiness worked well with the slight bitterness of the sauce.
I really hope you can try this out! Try checking with your local butcher to find venison. If you can't find it, this would still be great with beef. Watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this dish!
Ingredients for Soma's Venison
Chestnut Fond du Veau
- 2 Pounds Veal Bones
- Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, Quartered
- 1 Stalk Celery, Chopped
- 1 Carrot, Chopped
- 1 Head Garlic, Halved
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 Packages of Ready-to-Eat Chestnuts, 1 minced, the other left whole
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 Cups Red Wine
- 8 Cups of Veal Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Tbsp Peppercorns
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 1/2 tsp Espresso Powder
Venison and Garnish
- Venison Steaks
- 1 Yellow Onion, Cubed
- 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- Salt and Pepper
- Parsley, minced
To Make Soma's Venison
1. Prep any and all vegetables. Heat oven to 425 F and brown the veal bones for about 1 hour.
2. While bones are browning, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a stock pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the onions, and allow to cook until caramelized, or about 20 minutes.
3. Then, add the celery, carrot, and garlic. Allow to cook about five minutes, then add in the minced chestnuts. Season well with salt. Cook another five minutes and then clear a space in the middle for the tomato paste.
4. Brown the paste, about 2-3 minutes, and then add in the wine and veal stock. At this point, the bones should be done browning. Remove from the oven and add them to the stockpot. Add in the aromatics- bay leaf, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and thyme- and lower heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer about 4 hours, or until liquid is reduced by half.
5. While the sauce is cooking down, prepare the steaks. Pat dry, season with salt and pepper then marinate in onion and garlic for about 3 hours.
6. When sauce has reduced, strain it and add the liquid back into a fresh saucepan. Add the orange zest, espresso powder, and whole chestnuts. Stir well, and set aside someplace warm to be used later.
7. Start your grill up. Allow charcoals to get very, very hot. Brush any onion and garlic off the steaks and carefully place on grill. Cook about 4-5 minutes per side, or until beautiful char lines form and the steaks are cooked to a nice rare to medium rare, depending on your preference. Remove from the grill and let rest about ten minutes.
8. When ready to serve, plate the venison with a generous helping of the sauce. Garnish with minced parsley. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Check in next week for another recipe. To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a Twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My Tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Find me on Youtube for more video tutorials! Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! :D
In case you missed it, check out our last dish: Pineapple Ramen from "Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen". What other famous anime dishes would you like to see Emily make on COOKING WITH ANIME?