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Holiday Harvest Recipes

At this point in the season there is a lot more going on than hunting. The holidays are approaching, it’s a time of great joy and fellowship, cheer, goodwill, and wondering what in the world to serve that hungry tribe of yours! Let’s face it, we are trying to do it all, many of us work full time, hunt, and take care of our family. So when the holidays start, our already precious time gets smaller and the last thing we want is to be stuck in the kitchen for hours cooking. 

Here are several easy recipe ideas from the Shoot Like a Girl staff that keep our family and our lives fueled with fresh, sustainable wild game meat.

Crockpot Venison Backstrap

By: Amy Hunter

This is probably one of my favorite go-to recipes to cook venison.
When I make this I use about an 8 to 10 inch section of backstrap that was left whole. I put it in the crockpot with a jar of pickle juice and dust the entire top of it with horseradish powder. If you don’t have horseradish powder it’s OK, you can use fresh horseradish, also put whatever other seasonings you’d like in there as well. I use salt and pepper. Cover it and put it on low for 8 to 10 hours. When you get home drain the juice, and then you can serve the meat either sliced with whatever sides you like or I like to shred it and mix up a sauce of fresh horseradish and mayonnaise and put it on a roll with cheese. Really great easy way to cook up your venison and use different ways. The acidity of the pickle juice takes away any game flavor and tenderizes the meat, with no pickle taste.

Venison Chili

By: Stephanie Pierce Smith

(makes 6 to 8 servings)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds coarsely ground venison or beef
2 large yellow onions, diced medium
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chili powder
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced medium
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
1 cup water
2 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup finely diced yellow onion

Heat a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the venison and cook until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion becomes soft, 2 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar, and cook until all of the meat is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beer, and water, and bring the chili to a simmer. Cook the chili at a low simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the flavors come together and the texture thickens. During the cooking, add water to keep the chili moist as the liquid evaporates.

At the end of the cooking time, sprinkle the cornmeal over the chili and stir in. Cook until the cornmeal is cooked through and has slightly thickened the chili, 10 to 15 minutes. Ladle the hot chili into warm bowls and top with cheddar cheese and diced onion.

Originally published in Garden & Gun

Slow Cooker Duck Breast Stew

By: Erica Lullof

2 tablespoons Oil
1 ½ pound duck breast (cubed)
3-4 Large potatoes (peeled and cut into a large dice 
8 Carrots (peeled, cut into large chunks)
1 Large Yellow Onion (cut into large chunks)
2 Bay Leaves
½ teaspoon Peppercorns
2 teaspoon Coarse Real Salt * * see note below
4 Cups Beef Stock
1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme (roughly chopped)
¼ Cup corn starch
1/4 cup Water

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the duck chunks and brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Add the duck to a slow cooker. Top duck with the potatoes, carrots, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, thyme, and beef stock.

2)Cook on high for 6 hours (8-9 on low), or until duck is very tender.

3) In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water. Pour into the stew and gently mix with a large spoon, until the mixture is distributed through the broth. Let cook for 30 more minutes, until the broth thickens a bit. Check seasonings and add more salt, if necessary.

4)Remove bay leaves and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

** The amount of salt for this recipe was based off using homemade beef stock with no added salt. If you use a commercially prepared beef stock or bone broth with salt in it, decrease the salt you add by the amount that’s in the stock.

Paws Paws’ Mexican Stew

By: Dub Fincher

2 pounds venison burger or hamburger
2 cans pinto beans w/ jalapenos (drained)​ ​​
2 cans white hominy (drained)
2 can tomatoes w/ jalapenos or 2 cans Rotel
1 big can Hormel tamales (drained and cut into bite size)
2 packets taco seasoning
2 packets ranch dressing​​​​​​​
1 onion diced

In a large pot brown hamburger and onion then drain fat. Add taco seasoning, ranch packets and a cup of water and simmer for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Long enough for everything to get hot.

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