Meatballs are a popular meal option found all over the world, with each culture and cuisine bringing their own flavor to this classic dish. Although meatballs are most commonly made from beef in the West, there are tons of different and delicious ways to enjoy meatballs made from lamb, chicken, pork, and even turkey. However, this meatball dish, developed by Tasting Table recipe creator Jennine Rye, is made with ground venison.
In terms of taste, game is similar to beef, except more gamey and with an even richer flavor. Some consider it to be a more environmentally friendly choice of meat because it is hunted and not farmed, so no arable land is used to raise the deer. It is also often considered a healthier alternative to beef because it has a higher protein-to-fat ratio.
In this dish, the deliciously deep, gamey flavor of venison is paired with a rich, creamy and earthy brandy mushroom sauce, which combines perfectly to make a wonderfully decadent meal; ideal if you cook to impress or simply enjoy enjoying the finer things in life. Delicious served with spaghetti, mashed potatoes, or even eaten on their own like the Italians do, why not try this recipe for venison meatballs with brandy mushroom sauce?
Read more: 20 Italian Dishes You Must Try at Least Once
Gather the ingredients for this recipe for Venison Meatballs and Brandy Mushroom Sauce
To start this recipe for venison meatballs and brandy mushroom sauce, you will first need to gather the ingredients. You’ll want to get some ground venison; If your local supermarket doesn’t stock venison, it’s always worth checking at butchers where they can also grind it freshly for you. To complete the meatballs, you will also need breadcrumbs, milk, onion, garlic, an egg and some fresh rosemary.
For the brandy mushroom sauce, you will need shallots, mushrooms, brandy, heavy cream, and chicken broth.
Mix the meatball ingredients
The first step to making this meatball recipe is to make a panade. This technique is an easy way to make meatballs really juicy because it adds lots of moisture before cooking. To do this, simply mix the breadcrumbs and milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
In addition to ground venison and panade, the meatballs will also contain onion and garlic. It’s important to chop them rather than just chop them. This is an easy way to make sure your meatballs don’t have large chunks of vegetables in the mixture. This would ruin the texture and a large chunk of a strongly flavored ingredient like onion or garlic would be too overpowering and wouldn’t cook as well.
Form the meatballs
Once the ground game is well mixed with the panade, chopped onions and garlic, egg, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper, it is time to form the meatballs. First prepare a plate with parchment paper to place the formed meatballs on, then take a little of the mixture and roll it between your hands. To keep the size of the meatballs approximately equal, use a tablespoon to scoop out the meat from each ball and you will find that it is easier to roll the meatballs with wet hands, as this prevents mixing take off.
Cook the meatballs
Once the meatballs are formed, you can now concentrate on cooking them. You’ll want to fry them in cooking oil over medium-high heat; This process gives the piles of meat extra depth and also flavors the pan before making the sauce. Through a process called the Maillard reaction, the exterior of the meatballs is deliciously caramelized, giving them not only an irresistible taste, but also gives them a lovely, slightly crispy texture.
Once browned, remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside.
Create the sauce
Once the meatballs are browned, it’s time to create the mushroom sauce. Start by browning the mushrooms, shallots and garlic in the same pan as the meatballs, to maintain all their delicious flavor. Once they have softened, add the cognac. Leave to simmer for a few minutes to boil off some of the alcohol, before adding the stock and then the cream. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few more minutes, then return the meatballs to the pan to allow them to finish cooking.
Serve with the side dish of your choice and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Venison meatballs and brandy mushroom sauce recipe
In a medium bowl, mix the fresh breadcrumbs with the milk and let sit for 10 minutes to form a panade.
Add the onion and 2 garlic cloves to a food processor and blend to form a smooth mixture. Prepare a large plate covered with a layer of parchment paper and set aside. Place a small bowl or plate with water on it and set that aside as well.
In a large bowl, add the venison mince as well as the panade, onions and garlic, egg, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Using a spoon or your hands, carefully mix the ingredients in the bowl until well combined.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out portions of the venison mixture and roll them into balls between your hands. This is easiest with slightly wet hands to prevent the mixture from sticking, so use the bowl or plate of water to keep your hands slightly wet while you spread the meatballs. Place the formed meatballs on the prepared parchment-lined plate.
Once all the meatballs have been rolled, heat the cooking oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs for a few minutes on each side to seal and brown before removing from the pan.
Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan, along with the remaining two garlic cloves, which should be minced. Fry the ingredients until soft.
Add the cognac to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, before adding the chicken stock then the cream.
Return the venison meatballs to the pan and set the heat to low to allow the meat to finish cooking. Serve hot once the meatballs are cooked and the sauce thickened.