Sautéed reindeer is a dish that goes back a long way. Slicing game into very thin pieces is an ancient way of making the most of the whole animal, but the semi-domesticated reindeer is the animal that most people associate with this type of stew. The result is very fine pieces with the perfect amount of chewiness.
Keep in mind
Sautéing is an easy way to learn how to cook game.
You can assume that all meat from deer and moose will behave roughly the same way in the pan.
You may find game meat ready for sautéing in the shops. It might feel unnecessarily anonymous if it doesn’t state the animal it’s from, but it is still a product made from the best meat in the world.
How to cook sautéed reindeer
A larger piece of meat can be prepared for sautéing by slicing it finely when it’s half frozen. Shoulder of reindeer works well, as does prime rib of reindeer, which is tasty but not as tender, unless thinly sliced and sautéed.
The point of this dish is that even if the meat comes from one of the less prime cuts, it’s sliced so finely that it only has to spend a few minutes in the pan. Or go for slow cooking – but your end result will be a smoother or mushier stew.
Ideal for a stir fry. The game flavor – it’s relatively strong with reindeer – goes well with oriental spices. Or take the oriental cooking technique and apply it to non-oriental ingredients and flavors that go with game, e.g. celery, carrots, other root vegetables, juniper, mushrooms, etc.
Marinate the thinly sliced meat before adding it to a really hot wok.
A more traditional method is to simply fry thinly sliced reindeer in butter and thicken into a sauce/stew with cream, thyme, chanterelles and other autumnal forest flavors.
You can also use thinly sliced reindeer to replace the mince in a bolognese sauce or use it in tacos for a more interesting texture and chewier flavor. It’s more nutritious and better for the environment too.
Sautéed reindeer in cream with mushrooms and mashed potatoes.