By Josh Boyd
Every deer camp has a dish or two which become a usual request from season to season. These dishes are often known for their ability to stop the most ferocious of appetites in their tracks, and warm those who have been battered by the cold winds of November, while spending the day afield.
There are few dishes as capable of accomplishing this as Hunter’s Venison Potato Casserole. This hearty dish is similar in form to Shepherd’s Pie, and is an excellent use of any ground venison hanging around camp.
Gather Needed Supplies
Prior to beginning, ensure that you have all dishes and utensils at the ready. This recipe requires the use of one pot for cooking your venison mixture, a pot for making your mashed potatoes, a small frying pan, a baking dish, measuring cups, a stirring spoon, and knives. By gathering these items in advance, you minimize the time required to prepare this dish and prevent unnecessary hassle.
* 3 cups of mashed potatoes
* 1 pound of ground venison
* 1 small red onion, diced
* 1 small red pepper, diced
* 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp of oil
* 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
* ½ pound of cooked bacon
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 shallow baking dish with Pam or any other similar non-stick product.
Mashed Potato Layer
The bottom layer of your casserole will consist of mashed potatoes. You can make these however you desire. Homemade, skin on, skin off, instant, or even leftover potatoes work perfectly for this part of the dish. By carefully selecting the type of potatoes that you wish to include, you can vary the taste of this dish as desired.
Venison Meat Mixture
You will begin by dicing your red onion and red pepper. Add the onion and pepper to a pan with a small amount of oil. Once your vegetables start cooking, add your ground venison. You will now cook this mixture until the venison is thoroughly done, and the onion and red pepper are tender.
When your venison, onion, and pepper mixture is ready, salt/pepper it to taste, and set it aside.
Preparing the Bacon
While your venison meat mixture is cooking, you can begin to prepare your bacon that will be used as a topping. Cook the bacon until it is crispy, and place it on a paper towel to drain and cool. Once the bacon is cool and can be handled, cut into pieces.
Assembling the Casserole
Take your prepared baking dish, and thoroughly spread the mashed potatoes over its bottom. On top of the mashed potatoes, layer your venison, onion, and pepper mixture, spreading it out evenly over the potatoes. Top your meat mixture with 2 cups of shredded cheese, and then sprinkle the cut up bacon over the top of your dish.
Place the dish into the preheated oven and allow it to bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Once cooked, remove your casserole from the oven, and let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.
A Dish That Stops Hunger in Its Tracks
Whether you have spent the day toiling away while putting in food plots, or have set quietly while chilled to the bone in a treestand overlooking your favorite oak flat, Hunter’s Venison Potato Casserole is sure to bring your hunger to a screeching halt. Just remember, if you are preparing this savory dish at deer camp, you better make plenty. You just might have a fight on your hands when sorting out which hungry hunter gets the last piece.