Tender pieces of venison simmered with green peppers, onions and tomatoes. Also known as Venison Pepper Steak. Simple, hearty & delicious.
Let’s talk about venison…
My family hunts. We butcher our own meat. I can count on one hand the times I purchased beef to cook at home in almost two years – and I’m 100% proud of that.
I’m often confused about the controversy surrounding hunting. (Exceptions given to vegetarians & vegans, of course) I find it far more ethical to harvest an animal that has lived a wild & free exsistence it’s entire life. (Not to mention that deer populations have to be managed) Yet somehow people feel that purchasing factory farmed meat from a grocer, from animals often living in poor & confined conditions, is…kinder…? We should all be more concerned about understanding the source of the foods we eat. End of rant.
Misconceptions – let’s clear some up, shall we?
Venison tastes gamey, they say. Well, it all depends on what you are harvesting, what time of the season and where. Go after that big old trophy buck when he’s jacked up with testosterone and chasing the girlies around all rut, and you’re gonna notice a slight gamey taste and tougher meat. Harvest yourself a doe or young buck grazing on corn and local crops – you’ll have good tasting meat.
Summary : Age, sex, location, diet and timing will absolutely be a factor in venison taste and texture. If you are not familiar with this, please spend time to research and understand. There’s an abundance of information on this online.
Side note : Not to say that we don’t eat buck meat, because we do. I prepare it differently and make sure it’s clearly labeled when we package it.
Also a HUGE factor is a proper shot, proper field dressing, cooling and aging if necessary.
It’s also important to know your butcher (if you are not butchering yourself) for a few reasons. The worst tasting venison I’ve ever had was from a sloppy butcher. Careless or lazy knife work, loaded with fat, silver skin and connective tissue – will result in terrible tasting meat. Venison fat tastes awful and it will ruin a meal. Tossing fat & silver skin into ground meat (instead of trimming and discarding) will result in all your ground meat tasting awful. There are no shortcuts here, the butchering needs to be done right.
Another reason to know your butcher & their practices. You harvest your deer and you expect to get the meat from your deer when you pick up processed meat. Unfortunately some butchers have the poor practice of throwing scraps from numerous deer together to make ground. You don’t know what deer that meat is from nor how it was handled prior to butchering. Not cool. Again, get to know your butcher and talk to other hunters for their recommendations.
Let’s talk about cooking venison…
I can’t tell you how many times people ask me what to do with a freezer full of venison (whhhaaat…I know). Anything you make with beef can be made with venison. Adjustments have to be made, but it’s simple once you start cooking with it regularly.
For the most part, I treat good venison similar to lean beef. Preparation depends on the cut of meat. I could talk about this for hours (venison steaks, chops, roasts, ground) but I’m going to just focus on what we’re cooking here today – venison cube/stew meat.
Cubes/stew meat is my personal favorite cuts. The possibilities with it are endless. Every preparation starts the same way. Salt & pepper it, brown it and then braise or stew. The big difference vs beef here is cooking time. Venison cubes will take longer to cook to tenderness, so expect 1 1/2 – 2 hours cook time depending on meat quality & size of cubes.
Finally…about this recipe…
It’s simple. Consider it a base recipe, season to your preferences. Need more heat? Add more dried red pepper, hot peppers or hot sauce. Love onions and peppers? Add more. Want more umami? Add soy sauce or mushrooms. Hate soft peppers? Add your peppers later on in cooking or saute separately and mix in at the end. I make this often and season it differently depending on what I’m in the mood for. Brown the meat, saute your onions, deglaze, add the rest of your ingredients and simmer until meat is tender. I prefer my trusty dutch oven for this recipe.
Serve over rice and dinner is complete.
Hope you enjoy!
Tender Venison Cubes with Green Peppers, Onions & Tomatoes
- Dutch oven or heavy pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, ghee or cooking oil
- 2 pounds venison cubes
- salt & pepper to season meat
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1/2 cup broth, stock OR red wine vegetable, chicken, beef – whichever works
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 large green peppers chopped
- 2 teaspoon paprika preferably good quality
- 2 teaspoon parsley dried
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flaked dried
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- rice, salt & pepper to serve
- Heat oil in dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high / high heat.
- Salt & pepper venison cubes. Add to pot. Brown meat on all sides.
- Remove venison, set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pot. Add a drizzle of more oil if needed. Saute until translucent and tender.
- Add broth/stock/wine to pot. Deglaze (scrape and mix any bits of onion or meat – use wood or plastic utensil if using an enameled dutch oven)
- Add meat, crushed tomatoes, green peppers, paprikas, garlic, parsley, salt, red & black pepper to pot.
- Stir & bring all ingredients to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low & cover.
- Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender (you're looking at an 1 1/2 to 2 hours.) Keep ingredients at a gentle simmer, not a bubbling boil.
- Remove from heat. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve over white rice. Enjoy!
Here’s a good article about proper field dressing of a deer. Not a good article if you’re squirmish, but a good read to understand how improper field dressing effect quality & taste of venison.