We go through a lot of ground venison in my house, and because you can only eat chili, tacos and spaghetti so often before you get tired of them, I’ve started branching out into other ways to use ground meat. These three recipes are in regular rotation at my house because they’re pretty simple to put together and offer something out of the ordinary.
I do not mix any fat into my venison when I grind it, as many people do. I find I seldom need it, and if I do, I can just add a little fat to the pan when I’m cooking. The only exception is the meatloaf here—it benefits from a bit of fat in the grind itself, or consider making it with half venison and half ground beef. It’ll still be delicious when made with 100% venison, but a little fat improves the mouth feel.
Korean Venison Over Rice
I have no idea how authentic this recipe is, but I adapted it from a recipe called “Korean Beef,” so I kept the name. This comes together super quickly, especially if you keep a tube of that squeezable ginger in your fridge. I don’t use the red pepper flake because my family prefers it mild, but feel free to be generous with it if you like spicy food.
1 T sesame oil or toasted sesame oil
1 lb. ground venison
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ t ginger, minced
Pinch of red pepper flake, optional
Sliced green onions
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the venison in the sesame oil until cooked and crumbled, adding the garlic when the meat is almost done. Lower the heat to medium.
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper (if using). Stir to combine and cook for two minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with the green onions.
I have to be honest: There’s no photo of this because although it’s my favorite meatloaf recipe in the world, it isn’t the prettiest, and it definitely does not photograph well. This meatloaf does not have or need a sauce on top because it’s very juicy by itself. I usually serve this alongside mashed potatoes and broccoli, green beans or a salad.
2 lbs. ground venison or 1 lb. ground venison mixed with 1 lb. ground beef/chuck
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup ketchup
2 t dried oregano
1 ½ t dried basil
1 ½ t garlic salt
1 14.5-oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, well drained
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine all ingredients and press into a 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Tilt the pan to drain off any water/fat the meatloaf has released before slicing and serving.
Vegetable Venison Soup
This is less of a recipe and more of a method. Adapt it however you see fit—you can swap out any of the vegetables you want, although I think the cabbage provides a nice neutral base that gives the soup a lot of bulk and absorbs the flavors around it, so I recommend keeping that. You can use browned stew meat instead of ground meat if you prefer. You can remove the potatoes to make it lower-carb, or add elbow macaroni or rice toward the end of the cooking time to add some carbs and stretch the soup. Although I’ve given the full from-scratch instructions here, you can make this incredibly easy by using a carton of pre-made beef broth and a few bags of frozen vegetables of your choice.
I usually make this in the Instant Pot, but it works just as well in a crockpot or on the stovetop. If I’m making it in a big stockpot on the stove, I simmer the cabbage for 30-60 minutes first before adding the other veggies. You might need to do this in your crockpot as well, because the cabbage takes up a ton of space in the pot before it starts to cook down.
This makes a lot of soup! Be prepared to feed a crowd or to freeze half of the soup to enjoy later, or cut the recipe in half if you’re not into leftovers.
Beef broth, homemade or canned or made using Better Than Bullion, amount TBD
1 or 2 pounds ground venison
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and diced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bag frozen green beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 or 2 cans tomato sauce as you prefer
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional add-ins or swaps: Frozen cauliflower, diced potatoes, fresh or frozen peas, canned or fresh mushrooms, canned or frozen corn, diced bell pepper, diced turnips, etc.
Brown the meat (using a bit of oil if necessary to keep it from sticking to the pan). Add the beef and all the vegetables to a stockpot, slow cooker or Instant Pot. Add beef broth until it is an inch or so higher than the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, sauce, bay leaf and some salt. Stir to combine.
If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or until all vegetables are soft. If using the Instant Pot, hit the “soup” button and let it cook (about 45 minutes if you’re inputting it manually). Allow the pressure to release naturally for about 20 minutes, then quick-release. If using the stovetop, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook until the vegetables are done—at least one hour, maybe more.
Remove the bay leaf, taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper, and serve.