Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

dipping sauce for venison potstickers

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Dipping Sauce for Venison Potstickers
 
Author:

 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • ¾ tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 minced garlic clove, or more
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon green onion ( thinly sliced)

Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use as dipping sauce.

Venison Bean Salad

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PHOTO Venison Bean Salad - Deidra Miller

Venison Bean Salad
 
Author:

Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

 
This venison bean salad is great over taco salad or nachos!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground venison
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) northern beans, drained
  • 1½ c. salsa
  • Lawry’s Seasoning to taste

Instructions
  1. Brown venison burger with Lawry’s Seasoning until done.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Can be served hot or cold, alone or on salads. And of course, you can substitute any beans.

 

Easy, Cheesy, Whitetail Pockets

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Whitetail Pockets Plated

Easy, Cheesy, Whitetail Pockets

Take those frozen pockets to the next level with this very simple recipe – a couple all natural ingredients, one spice blend, and pre-made dough. While we had these freshly made for dinner, this recipe also makes for a great make-ahead lunch. Or you could be everyone’s favorite carpool mom and give these as a hearty snack to kids between school and sports practice. Once you whip up a batch of these wholesome, savory, cheesy pockets, you’ll discover for yourself how easily this handheld deliciousness satisfies every hungry mouth in your house (or carpool).

Ingredients

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits (Pillsbury or the like. Comes 8 to a can.)
  • 1 lb. whitetail venison, ground
  • 1 Tbs. Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Instructions

Preparing Filling:

Pour 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil into large sauce pan. Once pan reaches medium-high heat, add ground venison and Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning. Brown thoroughly, remove venison from pan, and set aside. To the now seasoned pan, add rutabaga, carrot, and onion. Cook covered over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until carrot and rutabaga are ‘al dente’.  Combine meat with vegetables, stir in cheese, and remove from heat.

Preparing Pockets:

Preheat oven according to refrigerated biscuit instructions.

Flatten each biscuit until it is 1/4″ thick, or about 6-7″ in diameter. Place in foil-lined baking sheet. Scoop one heaping spoonful, or about 2 Tbs., of filling onto one side of the dough round. Fold the other side over, stretching as needed until outside edges meet. Pinch outer edge closed using the end of a fork (photo below). Bake according to biscuit instructions, or until pocket crust is golden brown. Serve hot.

Photos and Feedback

We prepped the pocket rounds by hand while we impatiently waited for the root veggies to cook through. This way, as soon as we combined all the filling ingredients together, we had the pockets all lined up and ready to fill. Our whitetail pockets were a beautiful golden brown after a short 13 minutes. We were not able to stuff all of the filling into our whitetail pockets, but polished off what was left with spoons. After passing the taste test with flying colors, we loved how we only needed one bottle from our spice cabinet to enhance the flavors.

Substitutions: Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of rutabaga or carrots. You could easily swap these out for other vegetables: peas, spinach, squash, sweet potato, anything that suits your palate. As far as cheese goes, you could cut back on the amount of cheese you add, or substitute mozzarella for the cheddar to make a leaner pocket.

Let us know what you think of our latest creation! As always, we love feedback and sharing venison cooking tips! Cheers!

 

One rutabaga, one large carrot, one onion: chopped.

One rutabaga, one large carrot, one onion: chopped.

Once venison has been browned, remove from sauce pan to make room for veggies.

Once venison has been browned with Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning, remove from sauce pan to make room for veggies.

Whitetail Pocket filling, ready to go.

Whitetail Pocket filling, ready to go.

We just used our fingers to flatten and stretch the pre-portioned pocket dough. Doesn't get much easier!

We just used our fingers to flatten and stretch the pre-portioned pocket dough. Doesn’t get much easier!

Scoop about 2Tbs. of filling onto bottom half of pocket round. Fold top half of round over filling and align edges of pocket. Seal the pocket by pressing the end of a fork along the outer edge.

Scoop about 2Tbs. of filling onto bottom half of pocket round. Fold top half of round over filling and align edges of pocket. Seal the pocket by pressing the end of a fork along the outer edge.

One can of refrigerated biscuits makes 8 whitetail pockets - just enough for a hungry family of four.

One can of refrigerated biscuits makes 8 whitetail pockets – just enough for a hungry family of four.

Bake pockets according to refrigerated biscuit directions, or until pockets have a beautiful golden crust like this.

Bake pockets according to refrigerated biscuit directions, or until pockets have a beautiful golden crust like this.

You can eat your Whitetail Pocket either with a fork and knife, or just with your hands. We explored both options, without a definite preference of style.

You can eat your Whitetail Pocket either with a fork and knife, or just with your hands. We explored both options, without a definite preference of style.

Venison Lettuce Wraps

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Venison Lettuce Wraps

Bursting with flavor that you don’t have to feel guilty about, venison lettuce wraps make a great summertime meal. This finger-food is also a fun way to get your kids to eat healthy since you build your own and eat with your hands. Our recipe feeds four for a light dinner, or eight as an appetizer. Let us know what you think!

Ingredients

 

Filling

  • 1 lb. ground whitetail venison
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 Tbs. ground white pepper
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce, plus a couple splashes for browning venison
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. pickled ginger, minced
  • 1 (8oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped

 

Other Ingredients

  • 16 leaves Boston Bibb (or butter) lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried

 

Instructions

Preparing lettuce: Rinse whole leaves of Boston Bibb lettuce and pat dry with a towel. Set aside.

Preparing filling: In a medium-sized sauce pan, brown 1lb. ground venison with 1 Tbs. ground white pepper and a couple splashes. Once venison is completely browned, remove from heat and place in medium-sized mixing bowl. Using the same medium-sized sauce pan, sauté onions. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and pickled ginger. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until sauce starts to thicken. Add cooked venison, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook until green onion just starts to wilt, about one minute. Remove from heat and place in medium-sized bowl for serving.

Assembling a lettuce wrap: Hold one leaf of lettuce in the palm of your hand. Scoop a heaping spoonful of filling into center of lettuce leaf. Wrap closed with fingers and eat like a taco or burrito.

 

Photos and Feedback:

While this is a fun finger food, it is a little juicy, so we don’t recommend letting the kids eat this without at least napkin underneath. We adults really beat the heat by pairing this lighter fair with a Summer Shandy (beer). Let us know what you think of this recipe! And now for the photos:

 

 

Sunshine Cut: When dicing your onions, slice each half of onion toward the center so that your dicing comes out more uniform. Shown above. This is a fun tip we picked up from one our my chef friends.

Sunshine Cut: When dicing your onions, slice each half of onion toward the center so that your dicing comes out more uniform. Shown above. This is a fun tip we picked up from one our my chef friends.

After browning the venison and removing from heat, we used the same pan to mix the onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and vinegar. After this cooked for a couple minutes, we added the water chestnuts, green onion, and cooked venison, then served it up!

After browning the venison and removing from heat, we used the same pan to mix the onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and vinegar. After this cooked for a couple minutes, we added the water chestnuts, green onion, and cooked venison, then served it up!

Venison Lettuce Wrap filling all ready to go. Once we added the water chestnuts, cooked venison, and the green onion, we removed the filling from the heat after only a minute.

Venison Lettuce Wrap filling all ready to go. Once we added the water chestnuts, cooked venison, and the green onion, we removed the filling from the heat after only a minute.

Venison Lettuce Wraps ready for assembly! We were impressed with our leaning tower of lettuce.

Venison Lettuce Wraps ready for assembly! We were impressed with our leaning tower of lettuce.

Step 1: hold lettuce leaf in your hand like so.

Step 1: hold lettuce leaf in your hand like so.

Step 2: Scoop a heaping spoonful of filling into the center of your lettuce wrap.

Step 2: Scoop a heaping spoonful of filling into the center of your lettuce wrap.

Step 3: Enclose lean and delicious filling with cool and crunchy lettuce wrap. Eat it like a mini taco! Be sure to keep a napkin on hand, the wrap may be a little juicy.

Step 3: Enclose lean and delicious filling with cool and crunchy lettuce wrap. Eat it like a mini taco! Be sure to keep a napkin on hand, the wrap may be a little juicy.

Venison Potstickers

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Venison Potstickers

Potstickers, also known as fried dumplings, are savory pockets full of meat and/or vegetables that are warm, crunchy, soft, and chewy all at the same time. They make a crowd-pleasing appetizer, or in our case with this particular recipe, a small family feast. And with venison potstickers, you can feel less guilty about the fried bottom because the inside is packed with wholesome ingredients that are naturally very low in fat.

We admit that this recipe is labor intensive, however there are so many upsides to taking the time to make a meal that’s “made with love”. This is a great meal to prepare with loved ones, as you will have an opportunity to catch up, share stories, and crack jokes while all hands are busy forming these little envelopes of deliciousness. As a culture that places family ties at utmost importance, Asian cultures have long used the art (or chore) of making dumplings as a way of bringing generations together. And as the saying goes, “the family that cooks together, stays together.” It may seem intimidating trying to make a piece – let alone a whole tray – of edible, stuffed origami, but it’s really quite simple, and anyone will be able to get the hang of it before long.

All of these ingredients (except for maybe the venison… wink-wink) are available in any asian market. You can also find them in most supermarkets in the ‘ethnic foods’ section.

Ingredients

 

Potsticker filling

  • 1lb. ground venison
  • 4 c. water
  • 1-1/2 c. shredded or finely sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped green onion
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (aka patis)

 

Other ingredients

  • 50 wonton wrappers
  • bowl of 1/2 c. water (used as glue for sealing potstickers)
  • 1/2 c. canola oil

Instructions

Combine cabbage, 4 c. water, and salt in medium bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes to make sure all cabbage is softened. In larger bowl, combine all other filling ingredients. Drain and rinse cabbage, and add to meat mixture. Mix in thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to hold raw dumplings.

Assembling Potstickers: Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in center of wonton wrapper. Dip finger into water bowl, then line two adjacent sides of wrapper with water from finger. Fold the two dry sides of wrapper on top of the two water-lined sides and pinch closed (NOTE: make sure potsticker edge is completely sealed, otherwise the juices may run during cooking and your potstickers may dry out). At this point, your potsticker should look like a pudgy triangle. Fold each corner of the triangle in toward the center of the potsticker, using a little dab of water to ‘glue’ the corners down. Place assembled potsticker on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Cooking Potstickers: Pour about 1/4 c. canola oil into the bottom of large sauce pan and bring to medium high heat. When pan is nice and hot and evenly coated, line the bottom of the pan with one layer of potstickers. We were able to fit about 1/2 of the batch into our pan at a time. Fry potstickers over high heat until the bottoms look golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Once bottoms of dumplings look nice and crispy, add enough water to submerge the bottom half of the potstickers. Cover pan with lid tilted so that steam can escape. Continue to cook until all water evaporated from pan and you hear the dumplings start to sizzle again, which can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with either tongs or a spatula. If you are going to cook the whole batch in one go, place potstickers on foil-lined try (photo below), wipe out the bottom of pan with paper towel to get the crusty bits out, then add remaining 1/4 c. of canola oil and start process again.

Saving Potstickers: If you’re not going to eat all of the potstickers in one sitting, put the tray of raw dumplings in the freezer overnight. Make sure potstickers are not touching, otherwise they will freeze together. Once they are completely frozen, place them in a large zip-lock bag (or portion into smaller bags) and keep in freezer for up to a month.

Photos and Feedback:

When sealing potstickers, try to remove as much extra air as possible. You may do this by pinching wrapper closed tightly around filling, then continuing out toward the wrapper edge.

If you’re not going to eat all of the potstickers in one sitting, put the tray of raw dumplings in the freezer overnight. Make sure potstickers are not touching, or they will freeze together Once they are frozen stiff, put them in a large zip-lock bag (or portion into smaller bags) and keep in freezer for up to a month.

This is not a dish that you stir while cooking! Once the potstickers hit the pan, you leave them right where they are until you remove them from the pan. The wrappers become delicate during the cooking process and will tear easily if you try to move them around.

If you’re wondering what delicious side we chose to compliment our potstickers, we used the rest of the head of cabbage, shredded it, and tossed it with green onion, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cool, crisp, and refreshing!

If you try this at home, send us your photos! And now for the slideshow:

 

Place shredded (or finely sliced) cabbage in bowl of water with generous amount of salt, about 2 tablespoons, for about 15 minutes. We used coarse kosher salt to help soften the cabbage so it would fold nicely into the dumpling wrappers.

Our potsticker filling is ready to go!

Our perfectly imperfect, hand-made venison potstickers, raw.

Make sure your non-stick pan is nice and hot and coated with oil before you place potstickers snugly together

Be careful but swift when adding water to pan. Your stove will not come out of this procedure clean. Don’t worry, it’s worth it!

 

Venison potstickers cooked just the way we like them: pan fried and crunchy on the bottom while being soft, chewy, and delicate on top.

The kitchen smelled so good by the time the second batch came off the stove, we had our plates loaded up and cleared before we thought to take a photo of the final plated product. We were patient enough, however, to snap a picture of our second helping before we dove in again.

Two Versions of Venison Tacos

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Venison Tacos, Two Ways

Hellooooo, warm weather! We missed you so much!

It’s finally looking like springtime here in Traverse City! White cherry and apple blossoms are giving way to green leaves in orchards all over the area, and brightly colored tulips in gardens everywhere are a sight for sore eyes. All the vibrancy and excitement that comes with nature waking up after a long rest makes us want to dance… salsa dance to be specific.

We whipped up a delicious recipe for venison tacos, and as an afterthought (or stroke of genius), we added one simple ingredient to make a world of difference. Photos of both versions below. Trust us, the venison taco meat alone is delicious, but adding a can of refried beans is a great way to add more flavor and texture to your dish. Bonus: it’s also a great way to stretch your buck (get it?!) since this one ingredient will take the serving size of the recipe from 4 people to 6 people!

Ingredients:

 

Taco Meat

  • 1 lb. ground venison
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 15oz. can refried beans (optional)
  • 1/3 c. water (if adding refried beans)

 

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, finely diced
  • 1/3 c. red onion, minced
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 of a ripe lime
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of white pepper

 

Other Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6″ flour tortillas – pack of 10 is enough for 4

Instructions:

Combine all pico de gallo ingredients in one bowl and set aside. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground venison. After meat is browned, add taco meat spices and mix thoroughly. Once spices have been mixed in, add optional can of refried beans and water. Mix thoroughly and remove from heat. On a plate, prop two tortillas against each other, assemble and garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Photos and Feedback:

This recipe was so simple, took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and tasted great! If we were to do it again, we would make a bigger batch of pico de gallo! The cool, fresh flavors were a crowd-pleasing compliment to the venison taco meat.

Suggested beverage pairing: We tried out some new drinks that looked tropical and festive, but we would have preferred to enjoy those super-sweet beverages on another occasion  perhaps as dessert. There’s so much flavor already going on with the dish that water with a slice of lime would be great, or your favorite light to amber beer.

Suggested substitutions: If you’re a fan of smokey flavors, adding 1/4 tsp. chipotle pepper would be tasty. If you or someone you’re serving is not a fan of refried beans, you could mix in a can of whole black beans or even have beans on the side as an optional layer. Do you have your own tasty tweaks to this recipe? Let us know! We’d love to hear! In the meantime, check out these photos:

 

The home-made version is so much better than store-bought!

Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Chipotle powder would also make a nice addition.

First layer: venison taco meat. Looks good already!

Second layer: freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

Third layer: a couple avocado slices per taco

Top it all off with the pico de gallo!

Feel free to add a can of refried beans to the venison taco meat to better suit your Mexican food craving (and feed more mouths, too)!

 

 

Venison tacos with refried beans