American-style goulash made with venison might as well be called Michigan Goulash. Around here, November 15 marks the beginning of the guys' favorite weekend of the year, and a time affectionately referred to as Widow's Weekend complete with sales and promotions for the ladies who have the itch to shop while the boys go to deer camp. Venison is an extremely lean meat, which makes this one-pot meal the perfect comfort food for figure-conscious January menus. If you don’t happen to have a husband to harvest a deer for you and stock your freezer with enough meat to last all year, you could certainly substitute ground beef. Venison goulash is my go-to substitute for chili. I love the heartiness of the dish without having to suffer through a bowl riddled with beans. Plus, it’s even better the next day.
On Thanksgiving morning this year, Michael got up early to go hunting while I got up early to prepare the food for the day's festivities at our cabin. Imagine my surprise when he showed up a few hours later, just as the turkey went into the oven, proclaiming his victory. Needless to say, Thanksgiving 2014 included more food than a person could possibly imagine. My brother's willingness to assist him with hauling the deer from the woods was yet another thing I could add to my list of things to be thankful for, since I had better things to do...like pie, gravy, and thanksgiving all-the-things. We had a great day with family, then spent the evening butchering and cleaning the deer while while sitting at the dining room table watching Christmas movies. Our bellies were full from turkey and pie, our hearts were full from a day spent with loved ones, and our freezer was full of venison to last us for a good long while. I'm sure this is not going to be the last venison recipe I share, since I have recently learned how incredibly non-gamey the meat tastes when butchered extremely meticulously, and I just so happen to have a huge amount of it at my disposal. Best venison I have ever tasted, by a mile. It's delicious, and that's saying a lot coming from a girl who had to be tricked into trying venison for the first time when I was about 6 years old. Michael's first deer from by our cabin was a victory on all fronts. So was this venison goulash.
Venison Goulash is a super simple, comforting meal that is great leftover. Feel free to use beef instead if you prefer.
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Serves 6-8 1x
- 1 ½ pounds ground venison
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups water
- 30-ounces tomato sauce
- 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (I use Hunt’s)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
- In a large Dutch oven, brown the venison in the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in macaroni. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Serve immediately.
Feel free to substitute ground beef instead of the venison.
Keywords: venison goulash