Feb 15 2011

Venison Porcupines Can Solve Game Dinner Dilemma

Now that hunters are home from the harvest, thoughts are turning to what kind of creations can be whipped up to transform deer meat in the freezer into a tasty treat at the dinner table.

Here is an offering from my first book "The Campfire Chef: Old Boots & Bacon Grease,'' that is just the ticket for using ground venison as the base for a dish that will satisfy even those that turn up their nose at wild game.

Ground meat is one of the most versatile creations ever invented by mankind and the proper mixture of venison and a little beef fat can be a creative foundation for many tasty dishes.

For those successful hunters who like to cut, grind and wrap their own venison, a good rule of thumb is to use about one pound of ground beef brisket for every five pounds of ground venison. This combination can be made into patties and fried without being dry or running the risk of burned burgers.

If creativity is your culinary quest, the following recipe transforms ground venison into a tasty, different delight with just a minimum of preparation time.

Feel free to add a couple chopped serrano peppers and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese into your meatball mixture to kick up the recipe a notch.

The name for this dish has something to do with the look of the cooked rice sticking out of the meatballs and not because of any secret ingredient in the mixture – but don’t tell your dining companions until after they take a taste.

Chef Ralph’s Venison Porcupines
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package instant onion soup, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 1 teaspoon Chef Ralph’s Super Seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked rice, divided
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Beat egg with water, 2 tablespoons soup mix and chopped onion in large bowl. Add meat, Chef Ralph’s (or your own combination of salts and peppers) and 1/4-cup rice, mix well and shape into 2-inch balls. Roll meatballs in remaining rice, pressing rice into the surface of the meat, and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients, including reserved soup mix and more Chef Ralph’s, in a Dutch oven or large stew pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add meatballs, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 40 minutes, spooning sauce over the meatballs several times as they cook.

Now, let's get cooking!