North Side restaurant features venison for fall

November 25, 2010 (CHICAGO)

According to food reporter Steve Dolinsky, venison is extremely lean, and at least from a historical perspective, probably just as appropriate during Thanksgiving week.

Venison is a far cry from turkey, but when you think about the origins of Thanksgiving, it certainly played a role. At Blue 13 on the city's Near North Side, the vibe leans toward a rock and roll aesthetic, but the fact that venison is on the fall menu shows they're serious about the seasons.

"You know back when the original settlers came here for Thanksgiving, you're looking at what you have on the land, and venison was obviously extremely prevalent," said Chris Curren, the Chef of Blue 13. "For me, venison really screams fall weather, the gaminess of it. But still, it's one of those game meats that people really understand and can get into," he said.

Curren places his seasoned venison loin into a blazing hot pan with both olive and canola oils. After it's seared on both sides, he places it into an oven to finish cooking. Meanwhile, he constructs his seasonal vegetables, focusing on how they'll balance the lean-yet-gamey venison loin.

"And then we balance that out with a wild mushroom ragout, which is a very earthy flavor, and then we add caramelized Brussels sprouts and top it off with horseradish potato foam --because I don't like to do anything simple," he said. So even though Thanksgiving week is all about turkey, don't rule out venison. It is, after all, a taste of what American settlers had hundreds of years ago.

Venison also can be found in a number of Chicago-area meat markets.

Blue 13
416 W. Ontario St.
312-787-1400
www.blue13chicago.com.

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