Holidays are fun, but generally expensive.
Having just forked out for a trip away, funds were a bit tight.
Luckily for us, we had a freezer well stocked with The Good Stuff to fall back on.
We found the minced / ground venison that we used in this recipe in Cheapskate’s Parade, a corner section of a free standing refrigeration unit in our local supermarket seemingly known only to the cognoscenti, that quietly sells off soon to be out of date produce.
If you time it right, you can score for some serious bargains. This particular cargo of venison, for example, was ours in exchange for a mere 50 shiny Swedish crowns, a good deal by anyone’s standards.
Anyroad, the mob spoke, and “meatballs!” was the verdict. I decided to pair them up with a nice tomato sauce, jacked up with bacon and vegetables.
Worked very well indeed, so it did. Good game, in fact…
Venison Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
- 1kg minced / ground venison
- 4 tbsp game spice mix – see Notes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves
- 280g cubed, smoked bacon
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 500g tetra-packs of chopped tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded, non-stick pan. Stir fry the bacon until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Set the browned bacon aside.
- Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and stir fry until soft, about 5 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic and smoked Spanish paprika to the pan. Continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well, and bring up to a low simmer.
- Roughly tear up the basil leaves, and add to the pan.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Return to a low simmer, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Prepare the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl combine the meat, the eggs, and the spice mixture. Mix very thoroughly with your hands.
- Take golf ball sized amounts of the meat mixture, and form into ball shapes. From 1kg of meat, I managed to make 16 meatballs.
- Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches until they are golden brown.
- Place the meatballs in the pan with the tomato sauce. Return the pan to a low simmer, and finish cooking the meatballs in the sauce for 20 minutes, turning them over at the halfway mark.
- Once the meatballs are cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Serve the meatballs with plenty of sauce, and a suitable side to mop it up. The Paleovirtus womenfolk went with Swedish tradition and had mash with their meatballs – cauliflower mash, that is. Zoodles or a baked sweet potato would work just as well.
Here for speed and convenience I used Santa Maria’s own “Vilt Krydda” (“Game Spice”).
If you can’t obtain a similar spice / herb mix created especially for game, and want to have a crack at creating something similar, then a good starting point would be something containing salt, black pepper, onion powder, ground juniper, ground coriander, rosemary, sage, paprika, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic powder.