• leslieannejackson

Northwoods Venison Tacos

In the northwoods of Wisconsin, we eat vension. Yes, that's deer meat. It's delicious, lean, packed with protein and has a lovely wild game flavor! Unfortunately, my husband did not get a deer during this past hunting season (actually, he hasn't had one the past two seasons...time for a new hunting spot??). Our friends, however, had more than their bellies could handle and graciously processed and donated one of their 'extra' deer to us!

We've used the ground venison for everything from chili to spaghetti bolognese and everything in between! But our favorite is probably these tacos. A little spicy, a little smoky, and completely adaptable to whatever toppings you'd like.

I know, I I went full-on "American style" on these tacos: sour cream and all. The 'fancy' version of these tacos usually includes pickled red onions (recipe at the bottom of this post!), cotija cheese, and fresh pico de gallo.

The true star of these tacos is the MEAT! Why buy sodium, gluten and who-knows-what-else laden taco seasoning when you can make a delicious version yourself? Feel free to use this with any ground meat you have: beef, turkey, chicken, etc. The seasonings would also work well with shrimp!

Northwoods Vension Tacos

Difficulty: Easy

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

1 lb. ground venison

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 c. tomato sauce

1/4 c. chicken stock

Freshly chopped cilantro, if desired

Brown ground venison. Add onion, pepper and garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and allow to simmer on low 5 minutes (or until ready to serve). Add freshly chopped cilantro at the end, if desired.

Serve with whatever toppings you prefer! Freezes great, perfect for meal prep!

*Note: We LOVE having pickled red onions around the house for these tacos (and many other dishes!). It's a "quickle"...meaning it won't take you long. Start to make these about 30-60 minutes before you eat.

Quick pickled red onion

1-2 red onions, sliced

1/2 bottle red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp granulated sugar



Crushed red pepper

Combine all liquid ingredients into a large mouth mason jar and shake vigorously to mix. Add onions to jar and shake gently to combine. Allow to sit 30-60 minutes, inverting as needed to get every onion pickled! Keeps for a couple weeks in the fridge...assuming you don't eat all of these first!


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