The holidays are a great time to introduce family and friends to wild game, because something about it appeals to nearly everyone.
But what do you cook?
When cooking for large groups, don’t be a hero. We all want to be the host who puts on a dazzling holiday feast, but unless you have a team of sous chefs, it’s best to keep things simple.
The recipes below do justice to your hard-earned wild game. Plus, you can prepare them ahead of time and keep them hot until it’s time to eat. In other words, you can cook a feast and still enjoy your holiday.
The Perfect Medium-Rare Roast
Roast beef is a common holiday meal that easily crosses over to venison, but with one caveat: Deer roasts are smaller than a typical beef roast, and don’t serve many people. For large groups you must cook more than one roast. In general, you’ll need a half-pound of meat per person.
This meal is easy to cook and doesn’t take much time to prepare. Just season the roast with salt and pepper, sear it on all sides in a cast-iron skillet, and place it in a 400-degree oven until its internal temperature reaches 130 degrees or your desired temperature. Next, let it rest 10 minutes and then slice thin. These roasts are delicious with roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
What tastes better on a white Christmas than a hot bowl of venison stew? Answer: A Hungarian goulash made with venison, wine, stock, onions and plenty of paprika. In fact, those are goulash’s basic ingredients. You won’t find a set recipe for goulash, so feel free to add other ingredients to match your taste.
This recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook serves about eight.
¼ cup duck fat, bacon fat or sunflower oil
2 pounds venison stew meat
5 cups chopped onions
¼ cup sweet paprika
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 cups venison or beef stock
1 cup red wine
In a large Dutch oven, heat the duck fat over medium-high heat. Brown the venison in small batches and set aside as they brown. It’s important to brown the venison in batches. If you put all the venison in at once you’ll cool the pot and the meat won’t brown.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and caraway seeds. Stir often until the onions are soft and caramelized. Add the venison and mix with the other ingredients.
Cover the Dutch oven and place in 250-degree oven for three hours.
Serve your goulash with dumplings, mashed potatoes or a buttery biscuit.
Slow cookers and venison go together like reindeer and carrots (another great recipe). When you think deer shoulder, you probably aren’t thinking tender meat that practically melts in your mouth. But with a little time and the right recipe, you can turn a deer shoulder into a crowd-pleasing meal.
1 bone in deer shoulder
2 onions rough chopped
6 carrots rough chopped
1 cup red wine
3 cups venison or beef stock
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper
The first step is searing the shoulder, which can be done with a hot pan and olive oil. If you don’t have a large-enough pan, paste the shoulder with olive oil and sear it on the grill. Then brown the onions and carrots. Combine all ingredients in your slow-cooker, and give the shoulder roast at least eight hours. Warning: It might take longer. It’s ready when the meat easily pulls away from the bone.
With these recipes, you can make wild game a new holiday tradition. You might even recruit a new bowhunter when they taste the delicious rewards of bowhunting.
Need appetizer ideas? Check out our charcuterie recipes.