Merino Shoulder Racks & “Adobo” Gastrique

This recipe marinates delicate, delicious merino shoulder racks in a sauce inspired by Philippine adobo, packed with sweet, tangy, umami savoriness.  Once the racks are pulled out of the marinade, it’s simmered down with honey into a thick, sweet & sour gastrique sauce.


We recommend serving this dish with white rice and a nice green salad.


Servings: 2


2 Merino Shoulder Racks

3/4 C Honey Wine Vinegar

1 T Tamari Soy Sauce

1 Bay Leaf

1 T Fish Sauce

8 cloves of crushed Garlic

1 t crushed Black Peppercorns

1/4 C Honey

1-2 T Neutral High Heat Oil



  1. Combine the vinegar, tamari, bay leaf, garlic, fish sauce & peppercorns.  Pour them over the shoulder racks in a bowl or ziplock bag.  Marinate the racks in the refrigerator overnight, flipping them periodically for even coverage.

  3. Remove the racks from the marinade, and pour the marinade through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Pat the racks dry with paper towels.

  5. Sear the racks in a hot, oiled skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, at least three minutes per side.

  7. Reduce the heat and continue to sear the racks until they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees on a meat thermometer.


  1. Remove the racks from the pan and let them rest, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes before optionally slicing into chops.

  3. While the racks are resting, pour the honey into a small saucepan and cook it over medium-low heat until it darkens. Add the reserved marinade and stir. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce reaches a syrup consistency.

  5. Serve the merino racks whole or as chops, drizzled with the gastrique.

Recipe by Kim Brauer



Farmer Spotlight – William & Karen Oliver

William & Karen Oliver own Waerenga and Three Rivers farms. Waerenga had previously been owned by Oliver’s family with the two of them leasing the land until 2013 when they bought it outright.  They live on Waerenga farm with their daughter and two sons.

Waerenga farm comprises 1,912 acres of land.  Here the Olivers raise over 3,000 sheep, over 500 cattle and over 1,700 deer.  They also grow about 40 acres of corn, which they sell to the dairy industry.

Three Rivers

Three Rivers is slightly smaller than Waerenga at 1,902 acres.  Here the Olivers raise over 3,000 sheep, over 300 cattle and over 1,000 deer.  They also grow over 123 acres of corn.

What’s rewarding about farming for you?

Healthy animals, living in a beautiful place with clean air, clean water and green grass.  We enjoy a happy work environment with our staff and their families.


What’s it like raising venison?

Deer are a beautiful animal to farm.  They are intelligent which means we are constantly trying to outsmart them!! The deer on the farm are always watching and are aware of what we are doing, they remind me of a cowboy and indian movie, how the indians are lined up on a ridge watching the cowboys.


After 3 decades of farming deer they have become quite domesticated and are a lot easier to handle physically in the shed when they come in for animal health treatments etc.

How does it make you feel to know Americans are enjoying your venison?

We think it is great, there is a great sense of pride in knowing that a top end product we have produced is so sought after and enjoyed.  We feel proud also knowing that our animals have lived a good healthy existence here.

What’s your favorite cut of venison? How do you like it prepared?

Venison tenderloin served with a horseradish cream.


Why do you work with Silver Fern Farms?

We put huge value on working with co-operatives.  Nearly all our business is done through co-ops where we can.  We do this as we believe it is the only way for us to receive fair value from our end consumer or service supplier….We own shares in all the co-ops we do business with.  We are 100% loyal to our co-ops and expect the same back in terms of return, information and industry good.


Goals for the Future

William & Karen’s goals primarily center around further developing their farm land, providing a stimulating & enjoyable environment for their staff, and passing the land on to their children when they retire.



Classic Italian Braised Grass-Fed Short Ribs

These braised boneless short ribs are rich, tender, and incredibly delicious.  We recommend serving them with polenta, as we have here.

Servings: 8


4 lbs. Boneless Grass-Fed Beef Short Ribs

High Heat Oil (Canola, Safflower or Grapeseed)

1 chopped Onion

2 chopped Carrots

One 28-oz can Crushed Tomatoes

1 T Ground Allspice
6 minced cloves of Garlic

2 C Red Wine

2 C Beef Stock

1 Bay Leaf

2 sprigs of Thyme
Salt and Pepper


Recommended Side: Polenta



  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Dry off the short ribs and season them liberally with salt & pepper.

  3. Sear the spare rib pieces in an oiled pot or dutch oven until they develop a brown crust, turning to sear all sides.

  5. Remove the short ribs from the pot and add the onion and carrots. Saute the vegetables until they soften and the onion is starting to brown, then add the garlic.  Continue to cook, stirring, until you can smell the garlic.

  7. Pour in the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to free any browned bits. Simmer to reduce the whine by half, then add the stock, herbs & spices and the can of tomatoes.

  9. Return the short ribs to the pan and heat until the liquid comes to a simmer.

  11. Move the pot to the oven and braise until the meat is tender (around 2 ½ hours).

  13. Remove the pot from the stove and remove the short ribs to a clean plate.

  15. Strain the braising liquid into a new pot and simmer it until it coats the back of a spoon.

  17. Serve the short ribs with the sauce and your choice of sides.

Recipe by Kim Brauer



Venison Tenderloin w/ Celery Root Puree

Silver Fern Farms Cervena venison is so good that the dish need not be complicated to show it off.  Here we’ve paired a simple seared tenderloin with a creamy, nutty celery root & brown butter puree.
Drink Pairing: Left Bank Bordeaux Wine
Servings: 2-4
1 Venison Tenderloin
2 T High Heat Oil (Canola, Peanut or Safflower)
1 T Marcona Almonds, diced
1 t High Quality Balsamic Vinegar
1 Large Celery Root, cubed
¼ C Unsalted Butter
½ C Chicken Stock, as low salt as possible
2 t Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

  1. Remove the silver skin from the tenderloin by pushing the point of your knife underneath it, slice to remove one end of it from the meat, then pull up on the silverskin while cutting underneath it until it comes away.  Repeat with the rest of the silver skin.

  3. Tie tight loops of butcher’s twine around the tenderloin, pulling the trailing pieces of muscle in and compacting the meat.

  5. Put the butter in a small frying pan and melt it over medium high heat.  Continue to cook until it develops brown specks and smells nutty.

  7. If your marcona almonds aren’t pre-fried & salted (most are), toast them in an unoiled frying pan until they’re lightly browned and smell nutty.  Whether they’re pre-fried or toasted, dice them.

  9. Peel & cube the celery root, then simmer it in heavily salted water until fork tender.

Remove the celery root cubes from the water and combine them with the browned butter, lemon juice and chicken stock.  Blend everything to a smooth puree.

  1. Oil a frying pan and get it very hot (over high heat).  Season the tenderloin with salt & pepper, then sear it in the pan until it reaches your desired doneness (125 degrees for rare, 130 for medium rare).


If you’re concerned about cooking it all the way through before the outside gets overdone, you can move it to a 400 degree oven after a brief sear and roast until it reaches your target temperature.

  1. When the tenderloin has cooked, cut the twine off of it and put it on a clean plate to rest.  Loosely cover the plate with foil to help keep it warm.

  3. Slice the rested tenderloin into medallions.

  5. Serve the medallions with the parsley root puree and the vegetable side of your choice, finished with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of diced marcona almonds.



Merino Lamb Musubi Burger

This burger recipe, inspired by the Hawaiian Spam classic, uses an Asian-fusion Merino lamb burger patty between “buns” of sushi rice seasoned with sour Japanese plums.  The finished dish is playful and really tasty.


Ingredients:               Servings: 4

Four Merino Lamb Burgers (or 32oz ground Merino Lamb)

1 t Gochujang

1 t finely chopped Ginger

1 C Sushi Rice

4 Nori Sheets

2 T Oyster Sauce

4 Japanese Sour Plums (Umeboshi)

2 Garlic Cloves

1 t Soy Sauce


1.  Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the package.  If they call for seasoning the rice (with rice wine vinegar, etc), omit that step.


2.  Mince the plums and stir them into the rice, then spread it out in a square dish (about ¾” deep) to cool.


3.  Mix the Merino with the gochujang, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce & garlic.  Form it into four patties.


4.  Cook the burger patties using your preferred method (grilling tips).


5.  Preheat your oven to 350˚F.


6.  Cut the rice into disks roughly similar in size to the cooked burger patties.


7.  Sandwich each patty between two rice “buns”.


8.  Wrap each finished burger with a strip of nori.


9.  Bake the burgers in the oven until the rice has warmed through.


10.  Serve.



Spiced Venison Rib Chops with Coconut Sauce

This venison rack is coated with a Sri Lanca-inspired spice rub, then roasted to rare/medium rare before being sliced into rib chops.  A rich, creamy coconut milk sauce keeps the spices from getting too overpowering.

Colatura is an Italian fish sauce that has a more delicate flavor than Southeast Asian varieties.  Here it’s used to sneak a little more umami into the coconut sauce.

Drink Pairing: Napa Valley Merlot Wine

Servings: 4-8


Venison Rack:
1 8-Bone Venison Rack
¼ C of Coriander
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 t Whole Fennel Seed
1 t Whole Cardamom
½ t Fenugreek Seeds
2 T Whole Cumin
1 t Mustard Seed
1 Dried Aji Amarillo Chile
½ C Curry Leaves
1 t White Rice
¼ t Whole Cloves
1 T Salt
High Heat Oil for Searing (Canola, Grapeseed, Safflower)

Coconut Sauce:
1 can Coconut Milk
1 tsp Colatura Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
¼ tsp Salt

Fried Curry Leaves (Garnish):
Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Canola Oil


  1. Set your oven to 400 degrees.

  3. Toast all the spices for the rack, and the chile, in an unoiled frying pan until they’re aromatic and lightly browned.

  5. Once the chile is cool enough to touch, tear it apart and shake out, then discard all the seeds.

  7. Grind all the spices together in a clean coffee grinder or spice grinder.

  9. Remove the silver skin from the rack by pushing the point of your knife underneath it, cut to remove one end from the rack, then pull up on the silverskin while cutting underneath it until it comes away.  Repeat with the rest of the silver skin.

  11. Cut the intercostal meat off of the rack (the thin layer of meat above the rib bones, separated from the eye by a layer of fat & silver skin), and trim any more revealed silver skin off.

  13. Rub the cleaned rack with the spice mixture.

  15. Sear the rack on all sides over medium heat in an oven-safe frying pan coated with high heat oil.

  17. Roast the rack to 125 degrees for rare, 130 for medium rare.

  19. Remove the pan from the oven and put the rack on a clean plate to rest.  Loosely cover it with foil and leave it be for at least fifteen minutes.

  21. While the rack is resting, fry the curry leaves – put the tablespoon of canola oil in a pan and get it very hot.  Add the curry leaves to the oil and stir them until they crisp up.  Scoop them out of the oil and put them on a paper towel.  Sprinkle them with salt.

  23. Pour the coconut milk into the pan where you fried the curry leaves.  Bring it to a simmer and add any juices that have collected on the plate where the venison is resting.  Continue to cook until the sauce has reduced in volume by one third.

  25. Add the lemon juice, colatura fish sauce and the salt.

  27. Slice the rack between the bones into individual bone-in venison chops.

  29. Serve the chops with the sauce and curry leaves (plus any sides you want).



Venison Medallions with Roasted Endive

Silver Fern Cervena leg meat is exceptionally tender and flavorful and can be seared, then roasted the same way you would a rack or tenderloin with similarly delicious results.  Here we’ve paired it with bitter roasted endive and fruity, tangy balsamic glazed grapes.
Drink Pairings: Amarone or Valpolicella Wine
Servings: 2-4
1 pound of Venison Denver Leg
3 C Black Grapes
6 Endives
1 T Butter
1 1/2 t Salt
1 C Chicken Stock
1/4C + 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 t Chopped Thyme, plus extra for garnish
Safflower, Grapeseed or Canola Oil
Finishing Salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  3. Cut the endives in half and put them in an oven-safe frying pan with the cut side down.

  5. Add the chicken stock, butter, teaspoon of salt and tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the pan.

  7. Cover the pan & put it in the oven for thirty minutes.

  9. Remove the cover and return the pan to the stove, continuing to roast the endives for thirty more minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and they’ve browned.

  11. Season the venison with salt & pepper.  Oil a frying pan and get it very hot.  Sear the venison on each side until it develops a browned crust, then move the pan to the oven to roast until the venison reaches your preferred doneness (125 degrees for rare, 130 for medium rare).

  13. Take the venison out of the pan and put it on a clean plate.  Loosely cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain.

  15. While the venison is resting, halve the grapes and put them in an oiled frying pan – cut side down.  Cook them over medium heat until caramelized, then add the remaining quarter cup of balsamic and half teaspoon of salt.

  17. Bring the balsamic to a simmer and cook it down to a syrup consistency.  Add the chopped thyme.

  19. Serve the venison with the endives and grapes, sprinkled with a little thyme and finishing salt.



Chard & Chevre Merino Lamb Burger

This burger is packed with flavor, easy to make, and a lighter, fresher-tasting alternative to the common lamb burger.


Ingredients:                   Servings: 4

4 Merino Lamb Burgers (or 32oz Ground Merino)

4oz Chevre

8 Chard Leaves

4 T Prepared Horseradish (we used a beet horseradish)

Garlic Clove

1 t chopped Thyme

1 t Worcestershire Sauce

½ t Red Chile Flake

1 t Fennel, ground

1 t Cumin, ground

4 Buns


1.  Preheat your oven to 350˚F.  Mince the garlic & tear the ribs from the chard leaves.


2.  Mix together the Merino, thyme, Worcestershire, chile flakes, cumin, fennel & garlic.


3.  Make the lamb blend into four patties.


4.  Toast the buns.


5.  Cook the burger patties using your preferred method (grilling tips).


6.  Put an ounce of chevre on the bottom half of each bun.  Bake these portions in the oven until the cheese melts.


7.  Remove the buns from the oven and top the chevre on each bun with a tablespoon of horseradish.


8.  Top the horseradish with a burger patty, then top the patty with a chard leaf and the top bun. Serve.



Garlic & Truffle Grass-fed Beef Round Roast

Got a hankering for classic roast beef?  This recipe will fit the bill.  The natural deliciousness of grass-fed Angus beef is augmented with garlic slivers and black truffle salt, then finished with a red wine pan sauce.



3 1/4lbs Grass-Fed Beef Bottom Round Roast

½ C Red Wine

Black Truffle Salt

2 Dried Bay Leaves

Clove of Garlic

3 T Butter

½ t Brined Capers, drained

1 t Cream

Cooking Oil


1.  Set your oven to 350˚F.


2.  Peel the garlic clove and slice it very thin.  Chop the capers.


3.  Cut slits into the roast (evenly distributed across all sides) and insert the garlic slices.


4.  Rub the roast with the truffle salt.


5.  Put your roasting pan or an oven-safe frying pan on the stove.  Oil it and get it quite hot.  Sear the roast on all sides until browned.


6.  Place one bay leaf under the roast and one bay leaf on top of the roast.


7.  Move the roasting pan or frying pan to the oven and roast to a few degrees below your desired doneness (an internal temperature of 115-120 degrees will give you medium rare after a rest).


8.  When the roast is cooked, remove it from the oven and the pan.  Move it to a clean plate or cutting board, loosely cover it with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the pan sauce.


9.  Remove the bay leaves & the excess fat from the pan.  Pour the in the wine and scrape the pan with a spatula to free any browned bits from the bottom and incorporate them into the sauce.


10.  Simmer the wine until half of it has evaporated.


11.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, capers and butter.


12.  Thinly slice the roast and serve it, drizzled with the red wine sauce, along with your preferred sides.



Merino Lamb Loin w/ Braised Onions & Lemon Walnut Sauce

Silky, tender merino lamb loin served atop butter & olive oil-braised onions with marinated tomatoes and a creamy lemon-walnut sauce.

Note: You’ll have extra braised onions to serve as a side dish or save for later.


Servings: 2




1 Merino Loin Fillet

1 Clove of Garlic


1 T Coriander Seeds

5 Black Peppercorns



½ C Champagne Vinegar

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes




1 stick Butter


1 Marjoram Sprig

2 Large Onions




1 ½ C English Walnuts

Juice of 1 Lemon

¼ C Vegetable Broth


¼ C Lemon Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper



Minced Chives or Chive Microgreens

Additional walnuts


1 Day Ahead:

1.  Peel & crush the garlic clove.  Pour the ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, coriander and peppercorns in a saucepan and heat the oil just to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.


2.  Trim the fat cap and silverskin from the merino loin fillet.  Put it in a zip top bag and pour the olive oil mixture over it.  Marinate in the fridge overnight.


Day Of:

1.  Halve the cherry tomatoes.  Stir them in a bowl with the champagne vinegar and ½ tsp salt.  Let sit at room temperature for 1-4 hours.


2.  Preheat your oven to 300F.


3.  Slice the onions into ½” thick slices.  Put them in a baking dish with the sprig of marjoram and cover them with the butter (cut into cubes), olive oil and salt to taste.


4.  Cover the dish with foil and roast until the onions soften (approx. 40 minutes).  Then remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 425F.  Continue to roast until the onions turn golden brown.


5.  Cook the Merino loin fillet:



1.  Remove the loin fillet from the marinade & pat it dry.


2.  Sear it on all sides in a hot oiled cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until it reaches your desired doneness (4-6 minutes per side until medium rare recommended).


3.  Let the merino rest (loosely covered with foil) for 10 minutes, then slice against the grain.


Sous Vide:

1. Preheat your immersion circulator or water oven to 115F.


2. Remove the loin fillet from the marinade & wipe it dry.  Vacuum pack it using a clamshell or Food Saver vacuum machine.




Use a chamber vacuum machine to vacuum pack the merino in a pouch with its marinade.


3.  Cook the merino loin in the water bath for an hour, then remove it from its pouch, pat it dry, and sear it on all sides in a hot oiled frying pan or skillet.


4. Slice the merino against the grain.


1.  While the merino loin is cooking or resting, toast the walnuts.  Pulse them in a food processor until ground, then add the lemon juice, vegetable stock and olive oils to the walnuts while the processor is running (to create an emulsified sauce).  Taste and add salt & pepper as necessary.


2.  Spoon some of the walnut sauce onto each plate.  Top the sauce with a roasted onion slice, then top the onion with the merino.  Put some of the marinated tomatoes on top of the merino, then garnish the plate with toasted walnuts & chives.  Serve.