Dr Loren Cordain, the Father of Paleo, advocates that game meats are actually the healthiest to consume. Evidence-based research over the past few years have shown that they contain a mixture of fats that are actually healthy for you, and, the researchers say, lower cholesterol and reduce other chronic disease risk.
Cordain says anthropological nutritionists such as himself have studied the few isolated hunter-gatherer societies – such as the Nanamiut of Alaska, the Aborigines of Australia and the !Kung of Africa – that remained into the 20th century and found that modern maladies, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, are rare in these populations. “Over the past several decades, numerous studies have found that indigenous populations have low serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels,” Cordain says.
With this in mind and thinking about growing up on super-tasty “buck-meat” curry as our family calls it, when presented with really fresh venison by a friend recently, I cooked half in a slow-cooker casserole and the left over, about 400g worth, I minced in my home-mincer and chilled to make these burgers. Thinking about what to serve it with, I came up with a self-inspired mashed butternut and a spicy guacamole, the latter, flavoured with, among other ingredients, fresh coriander, cumin powder and freshly squeezed lime juice. The butternut mash taste was enhanced, I believe, by roasting the butternut in the oven with a light coconut oil rub, thereby retaining the flavours and nutrients that may have been lost by boiling or steaming the butternut.
The recipe for the trio, follows below – one that may be tempered as you prefer, noting that my burger night craving was for a spicy one. Burger nights, Paleo style!
400g minced venison produced 3 burger patties. As with all my home made patties, working with really chilled minced meat works the best. Once the ingredients have been mixed together, and moulded into burgers, it is important to chill the burgers in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to allow the mix to firm up and the flavour enhancements to blend into the minced meat.
400g minced venison
1 large egg
1-2 green chilli’s finely chopped
2 tsp freshly ground garlic
handful of freshly chopped coriander
Himalayan or Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
Optional is 1 tsp dried Jalepeno or Chilli flakes
Note that you may flavour the minced venison as preferred
- Mix all the ingredients well, preferably by hand, until all is well blended.
- Divide the mixture into three equal portions and mould into burgers. You may need to wet your hands to get this into a firm, smooth shape.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the burgers to firm up.
- Grill on a non-stick electric grill or fry in a non-stick pan with a thin layer of coconut oil or olive oil, for about 5minutes on each side, until cooked.
Mashed Butternut with Coconut Cream, Cinnamon, and Jalapeno Flakes
The slightly higher carbohydrate butternut is generally a sweet tasting root vegetable. Growing up on braised butternut, the tempering ingredients were always black mustard seeds and dried or green chilli. Salt is rarely needed to enhance the taste of butternut and baked in coconut oil, then blended with a tablespoon or two of coconut cream (the top of coconut milk left in the refrigerator overnight, produces the thickened cream) and a hint of dried jalapeno chilli (or dried chilli flakes) with a hint of powdered cinnamon, put an amazing taste spin on this mashed butternut.
I used about 150g grams of butternut, peeled and cut into discs. Rubbed melted coconut oil onto each disk and roasted until cooked, in a thermo-fan oven for 15 minutes on 180 degrees celsius. The butternut was added to a food processor, with the ingredients listed above and blended into a mash. This served as the base for the venison burger.
Guacamole flavouring is a personal preference in most instances. However, it is meant to be a spicy, refreshing avocado salsa, blended smooth, or roughly chopped and mixed, as preferred. Lime juice, coriander and chilli provide the correct flavouring in delivering that Mexican taste punch. Habanero chilli is particularly favoured for this amazing burger or salad topping.
1 ripe avocado, peeled, and chopped
handful of fresh coriander
1/2 small tomato chopped, pulp and seeds removed
a quarter small red onion, sliced
2 green chillies
1/2 tsp freshly ground garlic
juice of half a fresh lime
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Himalayan or Sea Salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processer and blend until well mixed and a smooth, spread-like consistency is reached. You may choose to roughly chop all the ingredients and mix well to combine.
To plate and serve the venison burger, add the mashed butternut to a plate, place the cooked burger on the mash, top with the guacamole and serve with a side salad.