In my Wine of the Week Pairing column for July 4, in which I write about Bogle Vineyards 2013 California Old Vine Zinfandel, I suggest that one of the best matches for this wine is venison crepinettes. I promised to post the recipe and here it is, from More Than Meatballs (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014, 1995).

crepinettesVenison Crepinettes • Makes about 24 crepinettes

The first crepinette I ever tasted was made with fresh venison and it was extraordinarily delicious. If you don’t have venison, you can make these with wild boar, buffalo, grass-fed beef, lamb or goat. Be sure not to overcook the crepinettes, as they will loose that yummy succulence. They are best cooked to rare or medium rare.

  • 3 pounds venison neck, shoulder or brisket, ground twice
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground juniper berry
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 ounces caul fat

    More Than Meatballs was released late last fall and features recipes for meatballs, fritters, crepinettes, caillettes and more.

    More Than Meatballs was released late last fall and features recipes for meatballs, fritters, crepinettes, caillettes and more.

  1. Put the ground venison into a large bowl, add the salt, sage, peppers, clove, allspice, juniper berry and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with a sheet of wax paper.
  3. Use a 2-ounce ice-cream scoop to divide the mixture into balls and set each one on the wax paper.
  4. Spread the caul fat on a clean work surface and wrap each portion of venison, being sure to overlap the edges as the caul fat will shrink a bit. Press down very gently on each crepinette to flatten it just a bit.
  5. At this point, you can freeze some or all of the crepinettes. To do so, simply set the baking sheet in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the frozen crepinettes and pack them into freezer bags.
  6. To cook the crepinettes, set a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add the crepinettes, seam side down. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or a little longer. They should have firmed up a bit but not completely.
  7. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve hot, with a simple green salad alongside.