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Check out Parts 1 and 2 of this series for more. Part 1 covers an introduction to deer meat and flavors. Part 2 shares information on cooking with venison. And check out the recipes videos on social media.

Venison & Root Vegetable Stew (Serves 8)

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Venison and vegetable stew in mug

4 strips of bacon
2 lb deer roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 cup cubed sweet potato (peeled)
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced parsnip
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Liquid

4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

  1. Cook bacon according to package directions.  Drain excess fat.  Cut or crumble into bite-sized pieces.  If desired, save some bacon to use as a topping once the stew is cooked.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. Optional step:  Heat 1 tsp oil or leftover bacon grease a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of deer meat.  Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, so all sides of meat are brown.  Remove from skillet.  Repeat with another 1 tsp oil or bacon grease and remaining meat.
  3. Add cooked bacon, deer, and vegetables to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. 
  4. Mix Liquid ingredients together and pour over meat and vegetables.  Stir to combine. 
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  6. In a small bowl, combine all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of cooking liquid from stew until smooth.  Stir mixture into slow cooker.  Return lid to slow cooker, and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until mixture thickens.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

Nutrition Information per serving: 330 calories, 9g total fat (3g saturated fat), 440mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 32g protein

 

Venison with Chimichurri (Serves 4)

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Venison meat with chimichurri sauce

3 cloves garlic
1 shallot or 1/4 of a small onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro (or more parsley)
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb deer steak, cut into desired sized pieces

  1. Add garlic, shallot or onion, vinegar, and lemon juice to a small food processor.  Pulse until garlic and shallot are chopped in large pieces.
  2. Add parsley, cilantro, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Pulse again until mixture is chopped in large pieces.  If preferred, continue to pulse until chopped into smaller pieces or puree until smooth.
  3. Move half of chimichurri mixture to a clean bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Add venison and remaining chimichurri to a glass bowl or zip-top bag.  Mix to cover meat in chimichurri.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  5. Heat a skillet to medium-high with 1 Tbsp oil.  Add venison and cook until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.  Serve reserved chimichurri sauce with cooked meat.

Nutrition Information per serving: 390 calories, 30 total fat (5g saturated fat), 360mg sodium, 2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 27g protein

 

Venison Fajitas (Serves 4)

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Fajita venison, peppers, and onions on corn tortilla

1 lb. deer steak or backstrap, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried garlic
1 red medium onion, cut into strips
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into strips
8 tortillas
Toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cilantro

  1. In a large bowl, add deer meat, lime juice, 1 Tbsp oil, and spices.  Using clean hands, combine until meat is coated.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat with remaining 1 Tbsp oil.  Add onion and bell peppers.  Stir continuously, cooking for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.  Remove to a clean bowl.
  3. In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium.  Add deer meat.  Stir continuously, cooking for 5-7 minutes or until cooked.  Add vegetable back to pan to reheat.
  4. Serve meat and vegetables with tortillas and any preferred toppings.

Nutrition Information per serving (without tortillas or toppings): 230 calories, 10g total fat (2g saturated fat), 350mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 27g protein

 

Healthy Eats and Repeat
How much difference is there between canned and frozen foods? How should you cook venison? When is the best time to buy avocados? Get answers to these questions as well as other tips, tutorials and recipes for common kitchen foods and items with University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Caitlin Mellendorf’s blog Healthy Eats and Repeat. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.

Caitlin Mellendorf is an Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. She is a Registered Dietitian and her work focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles. This includes providing programs and answering questions about heart health, diabetes, food safety, food preservation, grocery shopping and cooking. You can reach Caitlin by email at chuth2@illinois.edu or call 217.877.6042. Check out her nutrition blog Healthy Eats and Repeats for seasonal recipes and of an exploration of common kitchen foods.