A Personal Fave: Roasted Sweet Potato and Venison Pilaf

This was an experiment last fall in my kitchen…take a simple pilaf recipe, add venison, and then think, “Hmmm, sweet potato and cinnamon sound good…” and voila! My crazy whim actually turned out really well and my friend Cara came over that night to witness it. She had two helpings, which I think is a good review!

I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture of the meal so instead I will just share a pic of Brandon and I really excited to eat wild game! (One of us is more excited than the other.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
  • ½ lb ground venison
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced celery2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1cup brown rice
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange the sweet potato on a pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until tender. Brown venison in a pan and set aside on a plate. Add olive oil to pan and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until onions start to brown, about three minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer approximately 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked and broth is mostly absorbed. Add the sweet potatoes and venison, and stir to combine. Serve with a green vegetable. Enjoy!!

Exotic Japanese Sika Venison Soba Noodles

I don’t know about y’all but sometimes when you eat wild game all the time (two deer can last Brandon and I an entire year), you get tired of the same old recipes. Hence why I love this one, courtesy of my best turkey hunting partner Kristin Parma, a non-hunting Oregonian turned Texas huntress, who writes the blog Anxious Hunter.

Can be done with any type of venison, does not have to be Sika deer.

Ingredients

  • Ground Sika or ground venison of choice
  • 10-14 oz Japanese Soba noodles
  • 5 oz fresh Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • Handful of bean sprouts
  • 8 oz mushrooms of choice, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced thick
  • Sea Salt & pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Minced green onion & cilantro for garnish

Sauce ingredients

  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Japanese mirin
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Chili paste to spice preference

Instructions

Boil water and cook soba noodles per package instructions. Drain & set aside. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. If you prefer a lot of sauce, double the ingredients. Add oil to cast-iron round Dutch oven on medium high heat along with the Brussel sprouts. Toast the sprouts. Add mushrooms. Season with sea salt & pepper. Add more oil if needed to brown or a splash of sesame oil for extra flavor. Meanwhile, in a shallow cast iron skillet, brown the ground Sika. Once meat is brown, add half the sauce mix to the meat. Continue to brown until sauce is mostly absorbed. When everything is just about done add the soba noodles and the ground meat to the Brussel sprout and mushroom mixture. Add the rest of your sauce mixture along with a handful of bean sprouts & the tomato. Toss to combine. Dish into shallow serving bowls and top with minced green onion and cilantro.

Three Cheese Venison Lasagna on the Dutch Oven

I love Dutch oven cooking, and this recipe totally hit the spot recently on a camping trip to Enchanted Rock State Park. It got two thumbs up by everyone in our camping crew, including a 4-year-old boy and some very hungry hikers.

I give this recipe my approval because it is easy to shop for at the grocery store, requires minimal clean up, and preparation is simple.

Ingredients

  • 2 jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1/2 lb ground venison or beef
  • 1/2 lb ground sausage (I used a pork/venison mixture but you can use Jimmy Dean ground sausage if you don’t have access to wild game)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cups grated parmesan

Instructions BEFORE you leave on the camp out

Brown the ground meat and store in a plastic container to take with you in your cooler.

Instructions at the camp site

Light 20 charcoal bricquets on fire using a charcoal chimney.

Mix the Parmesan, 2 c. mozzarella, and eggs together in a container. Save remaining mozzarella for top of lasagna.

 

Line the dutch oven with foil.

Layer the pasta sauce, lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, meat in that order three times.

Top with mozzarella.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid.

Put 8-10 hot coal briquettes on top of the lid, and 8-10 underneath the oven.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes.

When you check on the lasagna after 30 minutes, be sure to use a lid lifter! That lid will be hot!

Be sure to check out my Dutch oven cooking tips!

Venison Mac ‘n Cheese on the Dutch Oven

We tried this venison mac ‘n cheese recently and it was so delicious! Beef can be easily substituted for venison. The best part is that there are only 4 steps, so you don’t have to waste time preparing food when you could be enjoying the great outdoors!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or venison, browned before you leave home
  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked before you leave home!
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used an entire bag)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Nonstick foil

Instructions

  1. Cook venison and macaroni before you leave on the camping trip.
  2. Line bottom of Dutch oven with foil.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in the Dutch oven and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
  4. Bake 30-40 minutes; use 10 coals on the bottom of the Dutch oven and 14 on top.

Important Dutch oven cooking basics:

Serve with a salad or something green for some color contrast.

So delish! 6/6 hungry campers agree.

Venison Ossobuco with Saffron Rice

I found inspiration for this ossobuco recipe in the pages of Afield, one of my go to wild game cookbooks. It is a collection of recipes and outdoor photography, with step by step guidance on how get your food from the field to the table without sacrificing taste or sophistication.  I recommend it to all you lady hunters out there.

Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish. Amazon.com

Aside from being a fun word to say, ossobuco is an Italian dish traditionally made with veal. But, since we’re kind of into wild game around here, I’m substituting venison backstrap. And I changed it to be done on the slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole venison backstraps (I recommend marinating them)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c. flour
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 onions (Save 1/4 c for the rice)
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • lemon zest (1 lemon’s worth)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced

For Saffron Rice:

  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1 package Uncle Ben’s Instant Basmati Rice
  • 1/4 c onions from above
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c. hot water

Instructions

  • Season the venison with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour

  • Remove the venison from the pot and put the sage, bay leaves, carrots, onions, and celery in the pot

  • Cook until the vegetables are tender (10 minutes)
  • Pour in the chicken stock and wine, and bring to a boil.
  • Put everything in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for three hours until done.

Saffron Rice

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan
  • Throw in the onions and cook until they sweat

  • Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle if you have it, or the end of a fork and a bowl will do!
  • Put 1/4 c hot water in the saffron pestle
  • Microwave the rice according to package instructions
  • Put rice in the pan with the onions, drizzle the saffron and water mixture over the rice, and stir together

Serve venison over rice.

Yum!

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A Delicious Breakfast Casserole for Camping

A few weeks ago I did a dutch oven cooking demonstration for the Stewards of the Wild trip to the coast, and made a breakfast casserole. Today I wanted to share the recipe and pics.

Dutch oven cooking may sound intimidating but this recipe is just as easy as cooking over a Coleman stove. Nothing beats starting the day with a good hot breakfast when you’re out on a camping trip or at the ranch, and this can even be made at home in the city.

Before you start, here’s a primer on Dutch oven cooking

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter (I recommend keeping bacon grease on hand for dutch oven meals, with the exception of desserts–in that case use crisco)
  • 1 bag frozen hash browns
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage (or venison sausage)
  • 1 dozen eggs, whisked
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (I recommend getting the pre-diced containers of these ingredients at the store)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional add-ins
    • Mushrooms
    • Spinach
  • Optional toppings
    • Sriracha
    • Salsa
    • Quesa fresca
    • Chopped cilantro
    • Avocado

To Do Before You Leave the House

  1. Chop onions and bell peppers
  2. Crack and whisk eggs
  3. Brown the sausage in a skillet
  4. Store in separate containers

Instructions

  • Prepare hot coals by either:
  • Prepare a cooking space where you can safely put hot coals without catching anything on fire. The ground works well as long as it is bare and not within a foot or so of the grass.
  • Place a layer of non-stick foil inside the dutch oven, pressing it out with your hands so that it hugs the sides and bottom of the oven
  • Layer the ingredients!
    • Place the sausage in the bottom of the oven
    • Place a 1″ layer of hashbrowns on top of the sausage
    • Add the bell peppers and onions on top of the hashbrowns

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  • Pour the whisked eggs over the top

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  • Spread a thick layer of shredded cheese over the top
  • Put the lid on the oven and place 10 coals underneath and 10 coals on top, ensuring the coals are spaced out evenly both under and on top of the oven (to ensure the heat is evenly disbursed)

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  • Cook for 30 minutes or until done
  • If conditions are windy/cold, you may need to add a few additional hot coals midway through the cooking process
  • Serve with hot sauce, sriracha, salsa, pico, guac, quesa fresca, cilantro, or whatever your heart desires.
  • Serves 8, give or take depending on serving size and how hungry your party is.

It looks like I have no “After” photo, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was delicious. I hope you get the chance to enjoy this on a future camping trip!

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Three Cheese Venison Baked Ziti

When I made this ziti just a few weeks ago, I was reminded how much I love ricotta cheese! So creamy, so rich, so delicious. It’s the key element that goes into some of my favorite Italian comfort food such as ziti, stuffed shells, and lasagna. It’s hard to screw up baked ziti, but this particular ziti is so good, and it’s a man-pleaser!

FYI this recipe makes a lot of food, and I would definitely freeze part of it if you’re not feeding a big family.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 lb pork & venison sausage
  • 1 lb ground venison
  • (or any combination of venison/sausage. I threw in some beef as well.)
  • 1 28 oz. can Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Bolner’s Season it All
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 16 ounces cooked ziti
  • 15 Oz. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese (YUM)
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil the ziti according to package instructions, and allow to cool.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a big pan. (A Le Creuset works well for this.)
  4. Saute the onions and garlic until they are softened (and your kitchen smells like heaven.)
  5. Add in the meat and cook until it is browned. Drain excess oil. If you are using solely ground venison, do not drain the fat. You will need it for flavor!
  6. Mix in the tomatoes and tomato sauce, as well as all of the seasonings.
  7. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Separate out some of the sauce (approx. 3-4 cups) and allow it to cool.
  9. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, and the parmesan. You can do this with a fork.
  10. Mix the pasta into this bowl with the cheese mixture.
  11. Add half of the pasta to a large casserole dish.
  12. Layer with the meat sauce and mozzarella. Repeat layers.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes.

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Serve With

  • Garlic bread
  • Caesar Salad

I can’t find the pics I took of the finished product, that is, if I took pics. There’s a good chance I forgot in my hurry to eat this! Whoops!

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Enjoy!

 

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Venison Patty Melt

One of the great things about getting your deer processed into ground venison is that there are about 99 million ways to prepare it.  This venison patty melt is one of them!

There are a couple tricks to making it super tasty: 1) Don’t be shy about the use of butter, and 2) pat the patty pretty thin.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 0.5lb-1lb ground beef (optional for flavor)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • several dashes of Worcestershire
  • Texas toast
  • Sliced provolone
  • Butter
  • 1 white onion, sliced

Instruction

Slice the onion.

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Cook the onions in a tablespoon of oil until they soften and sweat.

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Set aside.

Mix the meat, salt, pepper, Worcestersire, and ketchup and press into patties. Thin patties! Thinner than this picture even.

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Cook on medium high heat for two to three minutes per side.

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Melt some butter in the pan. Don’t be shy about the use of butter here!

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Right away, put two pieces of Texas toast on the melted butter. (Before the butter burns.)

Place the patty on top and then put some onions. Then layer with a slice of provolone cheese. The cheese will help hold the onions on top of the patty.

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Put the other slice of Texas toast on top and let it grill for a moment before flipping the sandwich.

I recommend using a spatula and a fork to keep the sandwich from falling apart when you flip it. Also, pretending you’re a French chef in a fine restaurant and flipping it with vigor helps too.

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Once it is toasty on both sides and the cheese is melted, your sandwich is done!

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This sandwich will make you wonder, “Why don’t I make every sandwich on Texas toast?!”

It’s a valid question.

So yummy. Good to serve with: fries, cole slaw, fruit salad, chips.

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Slow Cooker Venison Lasagna

One of my favorites…so easy I can write this recipe from memory! And there is little I can do from memory any more.

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Enjoy!! (I enjoyed so much I almost forgot to take this picture.)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 1 c chopped white onion
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • shredded mozzarella
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • In a large pot, Brown the venison and onion.

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  • Pour in the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

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Stir!

  • In a small bowl, blend the ricotta and cottage cheeses.

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  • Stir in the pesto.

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Mmmm. This part is so yummy.

  • In the slow cooker, put a layer of meat sauce down.

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  • Next put down a layer of noodles. (Uncooked.)

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  • Then add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.

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  • Then add a layer of the mozz.

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  • Repeat the layers until the lasagna is complete, ending with a thick topping of shredded mozzarella.
  • Cook on Low for 4.5 hours.

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Yum!

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Recipe: Venison Frito Pie

I love this dish. Blame it on the fact I was raised going to the Cotton Bowl and eating fried foods at the State Fair. As a Texan, I just can’t not love Frito pie.

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Ingredients

  • 1 bag Fritos
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can kidney beans*
  • 1 can pinto beans*
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb ground venison/beef
  • 1/4 c. corn starch
  • 2 cloves garlic

*Optional

For Toppings:

  • Hot sauce
  • Chopped Onion
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions

Open the bag of Fritos and do a taste test, just to make sure they’re not poisonous. While you’re at it, check the cheese. It may be rotten.

Once that is done, you can begin.

Chop the garlic.

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Get out a large pot, and add a spash of vegetable oil or a tablespoon of bacon grease to give the venison some grease. Venison is so lean on its own and bacon grease never hurt anybody.

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Brown the venison and garlic over medium high heat.

Next, add the tomato sauce and Rotel. Feel free to shout “Ole!” as you do this.

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Add the seasoning, then add the beans if you wish.

Simmer for 30 minutes.

While it’s simmering, blend the corn starch and 1/2 cup water with a fork.

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After 30 minutes, pour the mixture into the chili, and simmer for ten more minutes.

Time for a taste test…

Set out a handful of Fritos in a large soup bowl, and spoon the chili on top. Garnish with shredded cheese, hot sauce, onion, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Enjoy!!