College Kitchen: Oh deer!

Sorry Bambi.

Venison meat arranged on dumpling dough is ready to be put together.

Image by Ichigo Takikawa

Venison meat arranged on dumpling dough is ready to be put together.

by Lucy Nieboer

Bam! No, it’s not Emeril Lagasse — It’s Minnesota deer hunting season. At this time each year, eager hunters trek into the depths of our state’s bountiful fields and forests to get a taste of the thrill of the chase.

Even if you wouldn’t hurt a fly — and if blaze orange is so not your color — you, too, can participate this season. Ask your nearest and deerest if they know any happy hunters willing to share some of their kill. Venison is a rich meat and needs few ingredients to really make it shine, so the average college kitchen is already equipped to prepare it accordingly. If your new friend has poor aim and you’re hard up for some fresh venison, you can also order it from specialty butcher shops.


Venison dumplings

These simple dumplings are filling and make a great weekend project. Make the whole batch, then freeze it. Pull out four or five filled nuggets for a ridiculously fast weeknight meal.


1 pound ground venison

1 dash olive oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

3 cloves garlic

3 green onions

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 packages dumpling wrappers



Chop the onions, and mince the garlic. In a hot skillet, soften onions, garlic and ginger in the oil. Brown the meat. Set aside, and let cool. On a flat surface, lay out several dumpling wrappers. In the center of each, place a small spoonful of filling. Using your finger, trace the edge of one side of the wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper in half and firmly pinch the two sides of dough together to form a secure pouch.

Set aside. Repeat until all the meat is gone. In a large pot, heat water to a boil. Gently drop the dumplings in the water. When the dumplings become more translucent and the edges begin to pucker, remove the dumplings. Serve topped with fresh green onions and a drizzle of soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili oil.


Dutch Oven Venison Roast

The venison roast of convenient cooking is often synonymous with brown gooey meat that has been tossed into a slow cooker with a few baby carrots and left for dead. This version, done in a Dutch oven, stays moist but doesn’t dissolve into a mushy mess. A hint of the sauerkraut’s tang melds with the bed of cabbage into a brine-like sauce providing a hearty, savory topping.


2 pounds venison roast

1 cup sauerkraut

3 cups chopped cabbage

1 cup chicken stock

1 yellow onion

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt


To begin, place the roast in the pan. Brown thoroughly on each side. Turn off the heat. Remove the roast from the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay down a bed of cabbage, sauerkraut and onions for the roast in the pan. Pour the stock over the mixture. Return the roast to the pan. Sprinkle the spices over the roast. Place the covered pan in the oven for an hour and a half. Carefully take the hot pan out of the oven. Remove the roast from the pan, and let it rest on the cutting board for 10 minutes. Slice into half inch sections. Serve slices of the meat over boiled potatoes. Top with the juicy cabbage mixture.


Spicy Venison Jerky

Even if you weren’t personably responsible for Bambi’s timely demise, you can fake it with this rugged dish. Nothing says “I’m into wilderness stuff” like a snack pack of dried game.


1 pound venison

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Cut your venison into small strips, and trim off all fat. In a large bowl, coat the strips of meat in the other ingredients. Let sit in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Place your meat strips, not touching, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 hours. When your jerky is done, it should bend without cracking. This will insure the signature chewy jerky texture. Store refrigerated in a covered container.


These dishes will leave your doe-eyed friends amazed at your sharp-shooting cooking skills. Little do they know you used fewer than 10 ingredients to satisfy their abundant appetites. Venison hosts so many complex flavors that with the pantry of a peasant, you can still eat like a king.