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Oct 11, 2013 09:47 AM

I have ground venison. LOTS of venison.

I have a freezer full of ground venison. And hunting season is just around the corner! I have done lots of things with it - spaghetti, tacos, stuffed shells, meat pies, casseroles, etc.

I stumbled across this thread:

And I would love to make something like this:
"How about afghan lasagna? This is a staple of my mom's, and based on some afghan dish, but she simplified it.
Saute ground beef with onions, some coriander and cumin and sliced leeks. Add a little tomato paste and a can of chickpeas. Should be thick, like a pasta meat sauce.
Break some lasagna noodles into irregular pieces (egg lasagna is best, but my mom uses regular), and mix some thick (greek style) yogurt with minced garlic and salt.
Then just layer: noodles, beef, then yogurt. Top all with some chopped cilantro and fresh or dried mint if you have it."

Anybody have a more exact recipe for this? I am not super familiar with Middle Eastern cooking, so I don't want to just guess.

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  1. Can't help you with the Afgan lasagna recipe, but two things I've done with lots of venison are: the smoked venison sausage from Ruhlman and Polcyn's "Charcuterie", which is excellent, and substitute venison for beef in a bolognese. Nive thing about bolognese is that you can make a giant vat of it, and it freezes very well.

    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: foreverhungry

      Take it to a butcher who will make venison smoked sausages/dried salami/s. I once had most of an elk made into dried salamis. (pork fat and steel ground oats and spices added). Pretty darned tasty and lasts forever if stored properly.

      1. re: foreverhungry

        Same for a giant vat of venison chili, freezes well.

        1. re: foreverhungry

          In bocca al lupo (idiomatic 'Good Luck' in Italian) if you make 'sugo alla bolognese.'

        2. I tried to make chili with ground venison about 3 decades ago. It was not to my liking because the venison is so lean that there was no flavor to the chili. If you make chili with the ground venison add some form on fat preferably of an animal source.

          The venison was given to me and I was unaware of the leanness of the meat. It was my first time cooking with venison and have not done so since. I'm not a hunter, and I do not know people who hunt deer. We have deer in this area. They run free in Valley Forge National Park. Their only natural enemy is the automobile.

          1. Love deer venison; last year we made about 50 pounds of sausage. We have a neighbor who gave us deer hams and we wanted to make the sausage but didn't have a sausage maker so we ordered one on Amazon, got the casing from a meat shop, got some beef fat & seasonings and spent a day doing it. It's a lot of work and we are still eating it but it is so good and worth the work.

            Hunting season is rolling around again; we are looking forward to getting more deer so we can make more sausage. If you can get your hands on some venison ribs, try those.

            I agree with making the meat sauce and chili; my grandmother would make smothered hamburgers in gravy and I have made meatballs with ground venison.

            Venison is lean so I suggest adding some fat; I use beef fat which also adds flavor.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cherylptw

              I've done venison sausage as well, but find that pork fat (from the belly) makes a much better flavored and better textured sausage...not to mention being a bit more cardiac-friendly (though that generally isn't the first consideration when discussing any sausage. LOL).
              Best to try individual batches with beef and pork to see which you prefer.

              1. re: The Professor

                Haven't tried pork fat with my venison for two reasons, the main one being that I wanted to make sausage that could be eaten by those who don't eat pork (without the casing, I do use pork casing but have a batch that I can patty out) and two, the only pork suitable for sausage I can find in my area is salted fat back or regular bacon, both of which I don't want for this sausage.

            2. The name of the lasagna dish is Aushak. Several recipes online.

              1. Alas I have not had a freezer full of venison in at least two years. Color me jealous!

                I think you might be talking about Aushuk? I remember reading about it in Ruth Reichel's biography. I did a quick google search and found this. It might give you a road map.

                Venison "Shepard's pie" is very good. Follow any Shepard's pie recipe and just sub out the lamb for ground venison.

                I second (or third) venison chili, meatloaf and meatballs.

                But as other posters noted mixing the ground venison with at least 80/20 ground beef or other fatty meats will make a more flavorful product