If you hate the idea of hunting, please don’t read any further but, please know we do shoot things to eat vs. killing just for fun. With that out of the way, I’m happy to say that Garen killed a deer this year. It had been a few years and my freezer was jonesing for some meat.
I’m one of the few people in my small circle of friends who really, really enjoy deer meat (venison to you fancy pants folks). I actually didn’t grow up eating a ton of it, despite the fact that my family grew up in a town of 3,000. I think we were always just too busy to hunt.
Whatever the reason, this year I got lucky and Garen shot one on Christmas Eve. We made a trip with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum to Muenster to have it processed at Fischers. It’s a nice little town. We picked up some great sausage and cheese for snacking, along with a nice cup of coffee and hot cocoa for the toad trip back to his Mom’s house in Henrietta.
A couple of weeks back we got the processed meat back. Lots of it. We had them make quite a bit of it into smoked sausage, summer sausage, jalapeño summer sausage, and ground meat, leaving the better pieces for steak, etc. (btw, the sausage is fantastic)
Now that our chest freezer is almost full to capacity, I’m using what we’ve got in meals I cook for the family. To any of you who don’t like deer meat, don’t worry, I won’t sneak it into a meal I cook for you! You know who you are!!!
I tried an old favorite of mine last night, Veggie Soup. Except I changed things up. I used the Instant Pot and I used some of my frozen ground deer meat. A few things I like about this recipe include:
- You can add pretty much anything you want. Got chicken? Throw it in there. Leftover veggies? Throw those bad boys in.
- Because of the variation of ingredients, it’s cheap. Especially when you use deer meat, depending on where and how you have it processed. Plus, it’s a great way to get rid of any leftovers you’ve got on hand or to clean out your freezer. We’re all about using what we’ve got!
- You can spice it up for adults (use rotel instead of diced tomatoes or add jalapeños, etc) or leave it mild for the kiddos.
- You can make it thicker or thinner, based on what you like.
- Top it with whatever you want. I added cilantro to mine but cheese and Fritos to the girls’. To each their own.
- It’s an easy one-dish meal. Less dishes = happy mom (or dad).
Here’s the “recipe” although it’s more like a “guideline.”
- 1-2 lbs of ground meat (use beef, turkey, venison)
- 1/2 onion, diced (optional)
- 1 large package frozen Mixed veggies
- 1 package Frozen Okra or Lima beans
- 3 cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cups water or broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown ground meat and onions by using sauté function your Instant Pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients and close lid.
- Set to Manual for 5 minutes.
- Let it natural release for 5 minutes and then quick release.
- Open and serve. Garnish with whatever toppings you like. Fritos, crackers, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, jalapeños, etc. are all good options but use your imagination.
It made about 10 servings for us. It kind of depends on how big of bowls you use. Sorry I’m not great at measuring it out.
There you have it! It doesn’t get too much easier than that.
Well, I take that back….
I made it a little easier by cooking my ground meat in bulk (5 lbs at a time in my big skillet) on a Sunday a few weeks back and putting it into the freezer so I can whip up easy weeknight meals without the added hassle of defrosting, cooking, etc. I just took the cooked ground meat out of the freezer and threw it into the Instant Pot frozen.
There ya’ go. On a damp, windy night like it was a few nights ago, this classic soup will warm your soul. Enjoy!