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Cooking with venison

Recreate classic dishes like stroganoff and stuffed peppers

October 20, 2017
By LORI DUNN - GRIT magazine , Farm News

By LORI DUNN

GRIT Magazine

Autumn is a special time of year in our family. The cool temperatures are a welcome relief from the dog days of summer, a walk in the brisk air is rejuvenating, and the smell of the woods is one of my favorites. The trees paint a gorgeous picture with vibrant leaves of crimson, orange, and gold.

Article Photos

-GRIT photos by Lori Dunn
Venison Stuffed Peppers are packed with diverse flavors.

There is another season that runs along with the autumn season that is always anticipated in my family, and that's whitetail deer season. In our home, some vacation time is always reserved specifically for hunting season.

Deer hunting has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child, venison was always one of the primary foods on our table, and it became a staple for my family after getting married. Venison replaces beef in most of my recipes. It is a very lean, nutritious meat source. We hunt and process our own deer, usually freezing roasts, steaks, and cuts for stir-fry, as well as ground venison. Deer meat is also good canned, and canning it makes for quick meals, as it is precooked and ready to use in soups, pot pies, and gravy to go over potatoes.

Whether you process your own deer or take it somewhere to have it processed, plan to get some venison ground into "burger." It is wonderfully versatile and can be used in place of ground beef and even ground turkey or chicken in almost any recipe. Use it for chili, tacos, meatloaf, pizza and pasta topping, stroganoff, burgers, stromboli, and more - the list is limitless. If you are willing and able to harvest a deer, take full advantage of this resource. When we grind and package our venison, we don't weigh each package, so there's some variation in each package. Most weigh about 1 1/2 pounds, and this size works well for our family. For the following recipes, anything between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds will work fine.

Venison stuffed peppers

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 pound ground venison

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon chives

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups tomato or pasta sauce

4 to 6 sweet bell peppers, washed, cored and halved lengthwise

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add venison, onion, garlic, paprika, oregano, chives, salt, and pepper, and cook until venison is browned, breaking meat into crumbles as it cooks. Stir in rice and tomato sauce.

Fill pepper halves with venison and rice mixture, and place them upright in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven, and bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with extra tomato sauce, if desired.

Easy venison chili

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 pound ground venison

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 can (29 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce, or 1 quart home-canned tomato sauce

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

Grated cheese and sour cream, optional

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add venison, onion, garlic, paprika, oregano, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and cook until venison is browned, breaking meat into crumbles as it cooks. Stir in kidney beans, sauce, and paste. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until heated through.

Serve garnished with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Note: If you don't eat all the chili, serve it over cooked rice for a great leftover meal the next day.

Tasty venison tacos

Yields 4 servings.

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 pound ground venison

1 tablespoon dried onion

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 jar (8 ounces) taco sauce

Taco shells

Toppings of choice (chopped tomatoes, onion, lettuce, cheese, black olives, etc.)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add venison, onion, salt, and pepper, and cook until venison is browned, breaking meat up as it cooks. Stir in taco sauce, and simmer until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve in taco shells, along with your favorite taco toppings.

Zesty nacho casserole

Yields 4 servings.

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 pound ground venison

1 package (14 ounces) frozen corn, thawed and drained

1 1/2 cups chunky salsa

3/4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 cups crushed tortilla chips

2 cups grated Colby or Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large skillet. Add venison, and cook until browned, breaking meat into crumbles as it cooks. When meat is almost cooked through, add corn, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in salsa, sour cream, and chili powder.

In 2-quart casserole dish, layer half the venison mixture, half the crushed tortilla chips, and half the cheese. Repeat layering with remaining venison, chips, and cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Note: To make nacho appetizers, prepare venison as directed above. Replace crushed tortilla chips with cup-shaped tortilla "scoop" chips. Arrange scoops on baking sheet, and fill with venison mixture. Top each with small amount of cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Spaghetti and venison meatballs

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound ground venison

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dried onion

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

1 cup quick-cooking oats

Spaghetti, cooked

Pasta sauce, hot

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 8-by-11-inch baking dish; set aside.

In large bowl, combine venison, Worcestershire, onion, eggs, salt, pepper, cream of mushroom soup, and oats. Mix well.

Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place in prepared baking dish about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until done.

Arrange spaghetti on individual plates. Top each with pasta sauce, meatballs, and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Note: For something different, serve these venison meatballs on toasted sandwich rolls with marinara sauce and cheese.

Classic creamy stroganoff

Yields 4 servings.

1/4 cup butter

5 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground venison

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1 carton (16 ounces) sour cream

1 package (12 ounces) egg noodles, cooked

In skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and cook until onions are soft. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Set aside.

In same skillet, cook venison and red wine vinegar until meat is browned, breaking into crumbles as it cooks. Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add dissolved cornstarch, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add mushroom mixture, and bring to boiling. Turn off heat, and stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Serve over hot egg noodles.

Canning venison

Canning venison is an easy process, but it does require a pressure canner. Simply place chunks of raw meat in jars, typically about 2-inch pieces; it does not have to look fancy. To can venison:

Cut venison into 2-inch pieces, and fill quart jars with raw meat, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon dried onion to each jar. You can also add any other spices you might like. Do not add liquid; it will make its own juice during processing.

Place lids and bands on jars. Process at 12 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes for quarts and 75 minutes for pints. Turn off heat, and let cool until pressure reads 0. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool. Test lids to ensure they are properly sealed.

 
 

 

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