Video: Deer Camp Cooking, Week 1

Deer hunting season is here. After a long day in the woods, you need food that tastes awesome and fills you up. So we asked avid hunter and chef Lukas Leaf to create four recipes, all featuring venison and campfire cooking. We’ll share one each week over the next month. First up: Venison Bolognese with Rigatoni. Watch the video for tips on building the fire and making the dish.

Venison Bolognese with Rigatoni

You can serve the Bolognese sauce over any pasta, but we like a large tubular one like rigatoni because the sauce works its way inside the pasta. Use a meat grinder to grind the vegetables to ensure they’re in very small pieces, like the meat. The dish can be prepared over a campfire or on the stovetop.

4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 lb. finely ground venison
½ lb. ground pork fat
1 cup ground parsnips, packed
1 cup ground carrots, packed
1 cup ground turnips, packed
2 bay leaves
2 ½ cups Porter or other dark beer
2 ½ cups unsalted chicken broth or stock
1 (32-oz can) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon horseradish, grated (optional)
12 cups water
1 (16-oz) pkg. rigatoni
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

1. In a Dutch oven (or large fire-safe pot when cooking over an open fire), heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until it begins to smoke. Add onion and garlic; cook quickly until slightly browned, about 1 minute. Add venison and pork fat; season with salt and pepper.* Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until browned.

2. Add parsnips, carrots and turnips. Season with salt and pepper; add bay leaves. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add beer. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid has been reduced by three-quarters.

4. Add chicken stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid has been reduced by three-quarters.

5. Add tomatoes and horseradish; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

6. In a large pot (or fire-safe pot), bring water and remaining oil to a boil; season lightly with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

7. Fold pasta into sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and green onions.

4 to 6 servings

TIP: *This dish is seasoned multiple times, so don’t over-season initially.


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