1 lb ground venison
¼ cup half and half
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium white onion – finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
This recipe is by far the best wild game recipe I’ve ever tasted! I must preface this by saying that up until a few of years ago, I was actually a vegetarian. Not because I was trying to save the animals. I did it because I just didn’t care for meat. However, what I realized when I met my husband, who is a hunter and ultimately the one whom got me into hunting as well, is that what actually bothered me about meat is that I didn’t always know where the meat from the grocery store had come from. I was growing a few veggies in my backyard, and purchasing the rest through a farmers market or local CSA. So I have always been aware of where my food came from; but the meat remained a mystery. Then along comes hunting. The first time my husband brought a whitetail deer home for us to process I started asking questions. I began cooking it for my family and realized my kids could never tell the difference between ground venison and ground beef. Thus began my journey in creating wild game friendly recipes.
Now I am extremely picky with how my food tastes. I do not like having a gamey taste to it at all. This meatball recipe is so perfect. Every time I make it, it gets better and better as I modify ingredients.
Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and coating the bottom of your 9×12 baking dish with olive oil. Next, place 1 pound of ground venison in a large mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup half and half (regular milk works as well, however I have not tried this recipe with dairy substitutes) and then set this bowl aside.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion and 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic to the skillet. Be sure to dice your onion into very small pieces. Saute until the onion is clear. I tend to like a lot of onion, so this may look like more than 1 medium onion. Never enough onion or garlic in my house!
Then, add the onion mixture to the ground venison bowl. Add 2 eggs, ¼ cup dried parsley flakes, ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon oregano to this same mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. You are now ready to mix with a wood spoon or your hands. I typically use my hands, but am careful for the hot onion/garlic mixture. Don’t burn your fingers!
Using the same medium skillet as you cooked the onions (as you can see in the photo I do not clean out the skillet), add 2 tablespoons olive oil and turn on heat to medium. Roll meat mixture into 1” diameter meatballs. Don’t look to close at mine. They are never perfectly round because my kids are always starving. Place meatballs into heated skillet; browning on at least 2 sides. You are not cooking them all the way through, just browning the edges. This makes the outside of the meatballs yummy and slightly crispy. Once you have browned the meatballs on 2 sides, place meatballs into your greased baking dish. Bake 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.
My husband and I tend to eat them plain (that’s how good they are) or dipped in barbecue sauce. My kids like to put them on Hawaiian rolls with cheese and barbecue sauce. Either way, I think you will love them! Enjoy!
By Tammy Bashore
Tammy Bashore is an outdoor enthusiast from South Dakota. She is a professional photographer, the wife of a professional walleye angler and the mother of 2 kids, plus one fur baby, a GSP named Bentley (pictured above). Tammy is also a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.