By Josh Boyd
Perhaps the most wonderful quality of venison is that it is so versatile. Much like beef, venison can be tempered into larger cuts for steaks and roasts, cut into fine strips to produce jerky, or be cut, processed, and packaged in meal-size portions.
However, ground venison likely takes the crown for versatility, as it can be substituted into nearly any recipe that traditionally utilizes ground beef. This opens up a tremendous number of dishes in which hunters can make fine culinary use out of the prize obtained during a successful deer season.
One dish using ground venison as its primary ingredient which always receives much fanfare is Venison Queso Dip. This dip has a wide range of serving uses, as it is hearty enough that it can be used not only as a typical Tex-Mex dip to accompany nachos, but it can be served as an entree in much the same way as a soup or chili on a cold afternoon.
This can be quite useful, as this dish can be used as an appetizer or side item to accompany another dish, or can be served as the centerpiece of the meal itself. No matter how it is intended to be used, venison queso is sure to have you going back for seconds.
Gather Your Ingredients
Of course, the centerpiece of this dish is ground venison, so you will want to have a sufficient amount of it on hand for the serving size that you are attempting to prepare. This particular recipe will be based on the use of 1-pound of ground venison. However, if you wish to prepare a larger or smaller portion, scale your other corresponding ingredients accordingly.
It is also worth noting that though this recipe is titled as “venison” queso dip, most any other variety of ground game meat can be substituted as desired. For example, ground meat from a successful elk hunt can be substituted identically in the place of venison to render equally enjoyable results.
- 1-pound of ground venison
- 1-tablespoon of oil
- ½ chopped onion
- 1 10-ounce can of diced Ro-Tel chili tomatoes
- 1-pound of diced Velveeta cheese
- 1 16-ounce can of corn
- 1 16-ounce can of pinto beans
- 1 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Prepare Your Venison
Begin by locating a large pot that the dish will be prepared in. Place this pot on a stovetop burner and add cooking oil. You will now turn on your burner to begin heating the oil, as you ready your ground venison and onion to be placed within.
Once your pot has begun to come up to temperature, introduce your ground venison and onion, cooking thoroughly until sufficiently browned. Once your venison has been browned, you will carefully drain the oil from your pot before proceeding.
Begin Adding Additional Ingredients
With the venison browned and all oil removed, add the Velveeta cheese and Ro-Tel chili tomatoes into your pot. In a short time, the cheese will begin to melt. As this occurs, stir all ingredients thoroughly to ensure that they are evenly mixed.
Once the cheese is melted throughout, and ample stirring has taken place, add all remaining ingredients into your pot. This will include corn, tomatoes, and pinto beans. When adding pinto beans, do not pre-drain the liquid, as this is to be included in the mixture of your queso.
Simmer and Stir To Perfection
With all ingredients introduced, stir your mixture until all parts are evenly blended. You will now let the mixture simmer for a short duration of time, ensuring that it is heated throughout. Once again stir your queso to facilitate even heating.
It is often helpful to slightly reduce the heat of your stovetop during this point in the process, as a lower heat allows the mixture to slowly heat to the ideal temperature, while simultaneously minimizing the chance of burning your cheese base stock.
Serve and Enjoy
With all ingredients added, and the ideal temperature reached, you are now ready to serve your dish. This venison queso dip can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or main course, as it does take on a thicker soup like density.
When served as a main dish instead of an appetizer, you can sprinkle a healthy dose of crushed tortilla chips into each bowl in much the same way as some individuals choose to do with crackers as they relate to chili. This lends itself well to creating a hearty Tex-Mex dish that will satisfy even the most hungry at the table.
(h/t Great American Wildlife)