Hunting

4 Easy Ground Venison Recipes to Make This Winter

Bowl of venison chili

Hunting season is coming to a close, and the chill of winter is quickly rolling in. It’s that time of year when you look forward to getting out of the cold and enjoying your favorite warm, hearty comfort foods with your family.

If you have a deer hunter in the family, this time of year is extra special. By now, your freezer is probably overflowing with freshly ground venison ready to be transformed into something delicious.

Ground venison is the perfect protein to elevate the flavor profiles of your favorite winter dishes. Best of all, it’s local, organic, seasonal, and saves you a trip to the grocery store. It’s also incredibly easy to add to these four traditional winter recipes.

Venison Meatloaf

Loaf of venison meatloaf

If you’re trying to convert someone into a venison fan, this is the only recipe you need. This meatloaf will surprise even the biggest beef-eaters. The juicy flavor, richness, and tenderness in this dish will have your friends and relatives begging you for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ketchup, as desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and carrots, cooking for 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl except for the ketchup. Mix in the vegetables and incorporate thoroughly, using your hands if needed. Try to avoid overworking the mixture to keep the meatloaf from being too dense.
  4. Shape the meat into a loaf and place into a loaf pan. Top with ketchup and bake for 60-75 minutes. Place a sheet pan on the bottom of your oven to catch any drippings.
  5. When internal temperature reaches 160° F, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Venison Pasta Sauce

Bowl of venison meat sauce and spaghetti squash

There’s something about a thick, rich meat sauce that just warms your soul in the winter. Nothing says “comfort food” like a big bowl of spaghetti and a deliciously simple pasta sauce.

This venison meat sauce will be so popular with your family that you may consider making a double batch. This dish freezes and reheats just as good as the first day you made it, although you probably won’t have any leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs ground venison
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add venison and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Remove from heat. Drain if needed.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter starts bubbling, place onions in the saucepan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Add garlic and continue to stir for another minute. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste to saucepan, and stir until tomato paste is incorporated. Cook until the sauce starts to simmer.
  3. If you like a chunkier sauce, skip this step. If you prefer a smoother, puree-like sauce, remove the sauce and blend for 30 seconds in a high-heat blender or food processor.
  4. Return the sauté pan with the meat to medium heat. Add the sauce and cook until simmering. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the liquid has reduced, stirring regularly.
  5. Enjoy the meat sauce over your favorite pasta or spaghetti squash. Top with shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese and parsley (optional).

Venison Shepherd’s Pie

Venison Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a winter staple, nourishing you after a long day of hunting, skiing, or shoveling snow. After all, nothing beats a one-pan meal full of meat, potatoes, and veggies in every bite. Adding a lean meat like venison to this dish really brings out the creaminess of the potatoes and the rustic flavor of the mushrooms and vegetables.

This easy-to-make recipe will be a hit at your holiday potlucks and family gatherings. If you’re cooking for only a few people, make two smaller pies in loaf pans. Bake one pie, and put the other in the fridge to heat up later in the week for a prep-free meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen veggie mix (corn, carrots, peas, etc.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • mashed potatoes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Start working on the mashed potatoes. (We’re sure you have a favorite go-to recipe for mashed potatoes, so we didn’t include one here.) While the potatoes boil, start the pie filling.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add venison and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Remove from heat, and drain if needed. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté onion and mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
  4. Return the meat to the pan and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  5. Spread the meat mixture on the bottom of a greased casserole dish (or two loaf pans, if making two small pies).
  6. Top with mashed potatoes to achieve about a 50/50 meat and potatoes ratio.
  7. Bake 25 minutes and broil for 1-2 minutes at the end to brown the potatoes. Top with cheddar cheese and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Slow-Cooker Veggie and Venison Chili

Bowl of venison chili

You can’t talk about winter foods without mentioning the quintessential winter dish: chili. What makes this version different, aside from the venison, is that it omits beans and other grains. Venison is such a lean, delicate protein, that it should be the star of any chili recipe. The vegetables in this chili really allow the venison flavor to shine through. Bonus: this chili is paleo-friendly.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs ground venison
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz canned hot diced green chiles
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, onions, and bell peppers, cooking for 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour veggie mixture into the crock pot.
  2. Return sauté pan to heat and add ground venison. Brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes, and remove from heat. Add meat to the crock pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients into the crock pot and stir thoroughly. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, until all vegetables are tender.
  4. Garnish with your favorite toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, green onion, and cilantro.

Ground venison is a versatile protein that can be used as a substitute in almost any ground beef dish, from simple tacos and burgers to more complex casseroles and meat pies. The recipes we’ve shared are some of the easiest ones to get you started, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite ground venison dish!  

4 easy ground venison recipes to make this winter

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