Back when I was a young deerslayer’s wife, I honestly didn’t have a lot going for me from a culinary point of view. I hadn’t cooked much and had no experience at all with wild game. Luckily, I was younger, less affected by gravity, if you catch my drift. Deerslayer (bless his heart!) was willing to overlook the minor chinks in the armor. Actually, the chinks were pretty substantial. Looking back on it, the way I treated God’s bounty, proudly brought to the table by my faithful deerslayer, was criminal. I had no knowledge of how to prepare wild game. Thank God I looked decent in a pair of jeans.
Recently, one of the junior deerslayers asked why I hadn’t made Venison Soup for such a long time. I stammered. I hadn’t prepared Venison Soup since I looked good in jeans. It was one of my first attempts at a wild game recipe. Granted, it was prepared to mask a botched Venison Roast attempt. It was kind of like hiding the evidence from a murder. Cut up the pieces really small and disguise them as something else…in this case, a tomato-based soup with veggies and shell noodles. It was actually pretty damned tasty. Why HADN’T I made it for so long? I guess that, as I started to stretch my culinary wings (is that a thing?), I kind of blotted out a couple of flukes that really were pretty good. I think the junior deerslayers remember a few of these recipes with a nostalgic warm spot in their hearts. Others, not so much.
Remember not to judge and remember my entry level of expertise. Use what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer. This has, on occasion, included squash, okra, cabbage. You get the picture. It’s pretty forgiving.
Stupidly Easy Venison and Veggie Soup (with Noodles)
a splash of olive oil
one onion, chopped
two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
two carrots, sliced
two stalks of celery, chopped (greens included)
32 oz. beef stock
1 can of any cheap variety of spaghetti sauce (not chunky)
1 bay leaf
1/2 can (from the spaghetti sauce) of water
about a cup of frozen peas
1/2 can of corn
1/2 lb. of medium shell noodles
about 1/2 pound leftover venison* cut up into chunks
salt and pepper to taste
a splash of worcestershire sauce
In a large soup pot, heat a splash of olive oil.
Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, and celery. Stir around a bit.
Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Add bay leaf.
Boil until veggies are just softened.
Add canned sauce and water.
Add peas and corn (or not).
Return to a boil. Add noodles and cook until noodles are done (according to package directions).
*Add leftover venison. This can be from a roast, seared backstrap or tenderloin or even ground meat.
Heat through. Don’t overcook at this point. The meat will get rubbery.
Season with salt, pepper and a splash of worcestershire to taste.
Serve with fabulous homemade bread. Thank you, Junior Deerslayer!
Put on a nice pair of jeans. Relish the moment!