Ingredient of the Week: Axis Deer

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What is it?

Not just another deer, it's known as a "chital" in India, its native habitat. Introduced to Texas in 1932, this species of deer is now the most abundant exotic hoofed mammal in our wonderful state.

They can be found roaming in wild herds as well as on ranches, where they are popular for their tender, mild meat -- game for hunters looking to take home something a little more exotic. They eat mostly grass, which makes their meat slightly less gamey than "regular" venison. These animals are also considered fat-free, with an inability to put on intramuscular fat. They contain a maximum 0.2 percent body fat - the leanest of any deer species.

In the United States, you'll only find them in Texas and Hawaii.

How is it used?

As a form of lean, red meat.

Where can I find it in Houston?

If, like me, you have a super-generous neighbor with a passion for hunting, you won't have to look far. For the rest of you, check out this website (if you consider statewide a "local" product, you'll even be supporting the SLGT movement). If you know of any other places in town where axis dear is available, please let me know in the comments.

Recipe: Venison a la Bourguignon: Courtesy of Broken Arrow Ranch

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