By Josh Boyd
As deer seasons across the nation carry on, one hunter after the next tops their deep-freezer with a fresh stock of venison. This surplus of meat presents a wealth of opportunity for any wild game chef at heart, as venison, especially in its ground form, can be used in a near endless number of dishes.
If you are looking for a new and creative way to prepare the bounty of your latest successful deer hunt, then look no further than Venison Crockpot Lasagna. This is a savory dish, which is sure to become a hit with your family, as well as any guest who might join you for dinner.
Preparing Your Ingredients and Supplies
As with any dish, the ingredients used during the preparation of Venison Crockpot Lasagna all carry their own specific value, and serve a vital role in creating a delicious final product. For this recipe you will need a skillet to brown your venison in, a saucepan to prepare your pasta sauce, and a 6 quart crockpot.
Before cooking can begin, gather the following ingredients:
* 2 pounds ground venison
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 tsp. minced garlic
* 1 box uncooked lasagna noodles
* 16 oz. mozzarella cheese
* 8 oz. grated parmesan cheese
* 2-15 ounce cans tomato sauce
* 1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
* ½ cup water
* 1 tsp. dried oregano
* ½ tsp. garlic powder
* ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
* ¾ teaspoon salt
* ¼ teaspoon pepper
Brown Ground Venison
With all of your ingredients gathered, you will now be ready to brown the ground venison that is to be used in your dish. Turn on a stovetop burner to medium-high heat. Place your onions,
along with an appropriate amount of cooking oil, into a pan that is of suitable size for the amount of meat that is to be cooked.
Next, sauté the onion within the pan, adding garlic only when the onions have softened. Once your garlic has been added, continue the sauteing process for one additional minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
At this point, you will add your ground venison into the pan in which you have been working. Cook this venison until it has been properly browned, while stirring frequently to ensure that no clumping of meat occurs. Once browning is complete, drain any excess grease from your pan.
Homemade Pasta Sauce
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Warm the tomato mixture over medium heat, stirring to mix it together thoroughly. Add the oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. If you prefer a milder sauce, you may omit the red pepper flakes. Stir in these seasonings, and let your sauce simmer for fifteen minutes over low heat to blend the flavors.
Of course, you always have the option of using your favorite jar pasta sauce. If using jar sauce, open and place in a saucepan on the stove and warm thoroughly.
Assembling the Dish
When your sauce has simmered, add your drained venison meat to the pot of sauce and stir it in completely. Now it is time to layer your lasagna in your crock pot. You will begin this process by spreading a layer of sauce over the bottom of the cooker.
Next you will place two layers of uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top the noodles with a layer of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Now repeat this process in the same order, until you run out of sauce or fill your pot. You will want to end with a layer of meat sauce.
Cooking to Perfection
After layering your lasagna, place the lid on your crockpot, and turn it to its low heat setting. You will want to let your lasagna cook for 4-5 hours on low heat. This will bring your cheese to a bubbling consistency.
Check your lasagna at the 4 hour mark, and place one last layer of cheese on top. If the lasagna is cooked through at this point, you can simply turn your crockpot to warm, and allow the cheese on top to melt. If the lasagna is not yet tender, continue cooking, checking it every 30 minutes for doneness.
Flavor to Savor
Venison Crockpot Lasagna is sure to be a favorite of anyone who is a fan of Italian-style dishes that are rich in flavor, and more than capable of satisfying even the most robust of appetites. This fall, if you find yourself in search of a little something different to fill out the weekly dinner menu, be sure to give Venison Crockpot Lasagna a try. You will certainly be pleased that you did.