I never cooked with venison growing up. Mainly because a) I didn’t have any hunters in my family, and b) it’s not really a meat you can buy at the local grocery store. (Although I’m sure Jungle Jim’s would have it!)
So I only started using venison about a year ago when my boyfriend finally went out for deer-hunting season. Where we live, deer hunting is quite a “family affair” to say the least; so his close family and a handful of family-friends all put their deer together to be butchered and processed into various things (roasts, loins, jerky, Bologna, etc.) and then everyone gets a share of it all. So need-less-to-say, since the fall I have had a very steady supply of various venison cuts and products.
I’ve made a few roasts so far and maybe burgers once or twice (but my boyfriend likes to make those so I can’t claim in making them), but I hadn’t really cooked with the ground version yet.
We have a spaghetti squash laying around that needs to be made soon, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to try my hand at home-made meatballs. And might as well use some of the mountain of venison in the freezer as well.
So the recipe below is a bit of a mix of one I found on The Food Charlatan‘s website, as well as some welcomed suggestions and guidance from my best friend’s mom who probably cooks with venison more than anyone I know. (Context: My best friend didn’t like the taste of beef growing up because she thought that tasted different.)
1.5 lbs. ground venison
2 large eggs
3/4 c. milk
1 c. breadcrumbs
1 & 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
3/4 t. onion powder
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. red onion, finely diced
small handful of grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with butter.
2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together.
3. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.
4. Place the meatballs close together (but not touching) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until browned on the bottom.
This recipe made about 32 golf-ball sized meatballs.
After letting the meatballs cool, I just bagged them and threw them in the freezer. We will be having spaghetti squash with marinara and meatballs later this week, so I didn’t really follow the correct method for freezing them. I figured a few days wouldn’t hurt…