I am a dedicated nose-to-tail cook, but I am also a nurse and therefore a professional hypochondriac. So I opted to bone out the deer neck and toss out the vertebrae.
Here was my trimmed deer neck, about 3 lbs. It came from a small spike whitetail deer.
This is what I ended up with after just using a boning knife to remove the vertebrae. Not a ton of meat, maybe just over a lb. But spinal cord free!
I couldn't find too many recipes on the internet on what to do with a deboned deer neck, so I winged it and decided to make mushroom duxelles to use as a filling and make roulades. Mushrooms make everything taste better IMHO, and I've seen other deer braise recipes that use mushrooms.
The mushroom duxelles recipe I followed is from a local cookbook author and painter named Jan Roberts-Dominguez. You mince 2 shallots, 2 Tbsp onion, and 1 lb of fresh mushrooms in a food processor. Do it in 2 batches.
Saute them with 1/2 cup of butter until the mushrooms are dry and slightly darkened.
You could add in some wine, sherry, or madeira and let that cook off if you want. I didn't, because I wanted to keep the flavors simple. Season with salt and pepper.
I then spread some of the slightly cooled duxelles over the deer neck, sprinkled it with fresh thyme leaves, and some extra salt and pepper.
Then I rolled them up and tied them into little roulades. More salt and pepper on the outside.
Seared them in some olive oil.
Deglazed with 1/2 cup of red wine, added 2 cups of beef stock. Returned the deer to the pan, covered it, and let it braise in the oven at around 300 deg F for 2 1/2 hours until I could easily slip a knife through it.
Removed the roulades from the pan and covered them with aluminum foil to keep warm. Reduced the braising liquid down some, added in heavy cream, mustard, capers, and more fresh thyme to make a sauce. My inspiration on the sauce comes from The Pioneer Woman and her recipe "Short Ribs with Wine and Cream."
Sliced the roulade. It held together nicely, although I might throw some bread crumbs in there next time.
And a couple of plated shots with the pan sauce.
The deer neck came out very tender and tasty using this cooking method, and the flavors from the duxelles and pan sauce were great. If my husband is so awesome as to get another deer at some point in the future, I'd make this again.
Thanks for reading!