Mortar and Pestle Care (with Savory Venison Steak au Poivre)

Jan 17, 2015 | A Well Kept Home, Recipes | 12 comments

how to clean a mortar and pestle

How to clean a mortar and pestle?

Kitchen gadgets thrill me and I LOVE my mortar and pestle.

I see out reasons to use it.

Back story – We raise organic chickens for meat here on Half-Way Farm… la Ferme a Mi-Chemin and we barter with other people for some of the things we need and want (meat, piano lessons, etc).  Well, ma cousine (Dear Darla) is an amazing gal and she was proud to shoot a deer this year… WITH HER BOW!

Hello?  Can you say bad ass? 

So – I gave her some of our farm raised chickens and she gave me some venison steaks.  Chicken does nothing for me (my fam loves it though) so I think I got the better end of the deal.  I could eat red meat every day of the week.

With red wine = happiness.

She’s the pro so I asked her opinion on preparing my steaks and she explained to me that venison is a big meat so it can take big flavor.  The minute she said “Rosemary” I couldn’t wait to hang up the phone and get started.  What about a “take” on the traditional French Steak au Poivre??? “Game style” if you know what I mean.

Whoohoo!  An excuse to use my mortar and pestle!

A mortar and pestle is nothing to be afraid of and mine is marble to match all my other marble accents in the kitchen.  I love it against my new blue countertops.  (Yes some of you have noticed on Instagram, the horrid brown laminate and red sink are gone.  My landlord doesn’t even KNOW yet!  Don’t worry.  He can have his laminate back when we leave.  HA! But come on.  I couldn’t shoot a cookbook with those brown countertops and I just didn’t know what I was going to do.  Thankful for this farm and cursing those hideous things every time I walked into my kitchen!!!!  Thankfully I have a very lovely aunt and uncle in the countertop biz…  BONJOUR!   My uncle even picked the color!  PERFECT!   I’ll be taking them with me when we leave and using them in a future basement or summer kitchen don’t you think???   My kitchen went from trying to be cute to absolutely charming.  I went from cursing that laminate in my heart to blessing my aunt and uncle every time I’m in my kitchen – which is literally about ten hours a day.  Even when it’s messy it looks clean… the sunlight bounces off them… ‘scuse me while I gush…

Ok, where was I…

Get yourself a mortar and pestle Get one here, in fact.  It’s almost just like mine.  They are easy to care for.  I just use hot water and a clean cloth and clean it out after each use.  If it’s had an oil substance I’ll use a little gentle soap.  Then I rub my hand around inside to check for any chips but I’ve never had any.  They are made to take a beating so get one and get to smashin’!

how to clean a mortar and pestle

mortar and pestle care

And now for a recipe!  I used venison but I am sure regular ol’ steaks would do.

First – let’s make the rub.  Lay your steaks out on a plate and gather your ingredients.  Here they are and they are all “to taste”.  For example I used about 5 cloves of garlic and a huge french shallot…  you’ll notice I used my homemade flower pepper but rainbow peppercorns will do if you don’t make flower pepper.  But while you’ve got those seed catalogs spread out before you this weekend be sure to order what you need to make flower pepper.  It’s life changing.

Venison Steak Rub

So, chop ’em up a bit and toss them in your mortar and get smashin’.

The smell alone is going to require that you pour a glass of wine.  Pronto.

And for heaven’s sake.

Make it a good one.

It’s steak night.

venison steak rub

Venison Steak Rub

You can crush your rub ingredients to the desired size.  Your call.  I swear by this salt from Trader Joe’s!

Then with a fork spread the rub on top of your steaks and let it sit for awhile.  Mine sat for about 30 minutes.

Melt three tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and fry your steaks rub side down HOT for two minutes then carefully flip them over, trying to bring as much rub with you as possible and fry for another two minutes.  Promptly remove from skillet.  Venison is wonderful served a bit rare – serving it this way inhibits that “gamey” taste and keeps them absolutely mouth melting.

And now we need a little sauce… non?

This is nothing labor intensive –

With a spoon remove a bit of the remaining oil from your pan, scrape the meat bits loose with a wooden spoon (don’t remove) then add the following:

– 2 tablespoons of butter

-1/2 cup beef stock

-2 tablespoons of white wine Dijon mustard (this is my fav)

Bring to a simmer and simmer until reduced a bit then add 1 cup of heavy cream.  Simmer for another couple minutes.

Remove from heat and pour thru a strainer.  I do this so the sauce looks “clean.”

Drizzle your desired amount of sauce on our plate, place steak on top and enjoy.

Steak au Poivre

Oh my gosh.  Hold on to your chaussettes. 

Soooooooooooooooo good and now you know how to clean a mortar and pestle!

For more recipes suivez-moi on Pinterest!

Bon Appetit.

Parisienne Farmgirl


  1. mandy

    MY hubby has ONE way he wants to eat his venison and that’s it. Ugh. So, when do we get to see your kitchen remodel in full?!

    • Parisienne Farmgirl

      Oh girl… tell him he is missing out. Surely he can spare a steak for you? And, how DOES he like his venison???

  2. Kristi

    Awesome! And I literally LAUGHED out LOUD when you said how chicken does nothing for you, because I feel the same, but my family LOVES it! I had a mortar and pestle for years and it’s been missing since we moved… 🙁 I think it got lost or broken. I got it at a thrift store but I am going to have to follow your link to get a new one! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe and look SO forward to your cookbook 🙂

    • Parisienne Farmgirl

      Serious – chicken. Ick. Even more ick after you have butchered them. But, I do love chicken stock so I guess I have to do with it 🙂

  3. Donna

    YUM! and the secret to cooking venison is hot and quick…I am definitely going to try this rub!

  4. Katie Rose

    Ok, your mention of seed catalogs sent my brain off on a tangent: what seed catalogs do you order from, usually? I’m going to be attempting to be successful with more than just tomatoes and am a bit at a loss as to where to get non-GMO seeds from a reputable but not over the moon expensive source. Truthfully, I’m not even entirely sure what I am intending on growing, just more!…in my limited suburban yard. Heh. Anyone have an old farm/orchard in NJ they want to gift me or sell cheap? Pretty please?

  5. Pam Moore

    So, this may be a silly question, but as a woman who has always wanted a mortar and pestle yet is still without, I’m going to ask it anyway. Did you actually grind your shallot and garlic in with the herbs? If my eyes don’t deceive me I think you just rocked my world. No chopping separately and it’s all in the same bowl?! Having no dishwasher I’m all about doing the amount of dishes possible. 😉 I also wish I had some venison to try this ’cause it sounds awesome. My dad was a deer hunter when he was younger and made the best summer sausage ever out of it.

    • Parisienne Farmgirl

      Pam – Yes, I just rocked your world.
      All. Together.

      I don’t have a dishwasher either and with 90% from scratch food and seven people… well… I spend a lot of time every day washing dishes. Barf.

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe!

  6. celyn

    oh wow, this looks amazing!

  7. Dore @ BurlapLuxe

    I havé a mortar and pestle, mine is all milky white, no grey in the marble stone. As for deer hunting when we were young kids in our family my dad went off deer and bear hunting in Washington state with our friends so we had plenty in the freezer. My Mom prepared it in all kinds of ways…one of our family favorites was in a meatball form mixed in with rice cooked in a slow cooker with a tomato base called porcupine balls…. And all kinds of peppered jerky. Now that cooking is more sophisticated so much more can be created. Your recipe sounds divine.
    We eat a lot of chicken around here is all kinds of ways….sorry Lol !!

    Looking forward to seeing your rustic French Kitchen.

    A beautiful weekend to you


  8. kathleem

    Ooohhh…this looks divine! My husband is a deer hunter and I’ve got a freezer full of venison 🙂 Can’t wait to try this!


  9. Chanda Lusk

    Oh my goodness this looks so good. I don’t like care for Deer meat, but this looks divine. My mouth is now watering for steak and wine and it is all of 9:12 am on a Saturday morning. I have a stone Pestle from Mexico called a Mocaljeta . I probably didn’t spell that right and spell check didn’t even recognize it. lol My poor husband carried that thing around all day as we toured the city and it was one of the first things we Now off to find some steaks for dinner tonight and skim some cream from the goats milk for the sauce. Thanks for the inspiration.


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