Mongolian Venison Stir-Fry

I never thought I’d use the words “venison” and “stir-fry” in the same sentence, much less in the same recipe.  But this one-skillet dish is a truly delicious contradiction in terms.

After we received four venison quarters from someone at church, I spent two afternoons removing the bones, cutting the meat into sections, concocting a delicious smelling batch of venison stock, and then wondering what the heck to do with all of it.  My experience with wild game has, up to this point, been limited to a couple pounds of ground venison-pork blend, which I turned into chili and burgers.  Not much help when it comes to a giant hunk of meat.

According to my friends who know about such things, venison can be substituted for beef in pretty much any recipe.  You know, earthy stews, onion-laced roasts, steak with sauteed mushrooms, and the like.  So, like a true outdoorswoman (is that even a word?), I decided to try it out in a Mongolian-style stir-fry.

The result?  The sauce was delicious (it would taste great with beef or pork as well).  The venison was tender, flavorful, and not “gamey” at all.  Since venison is leaner than beef, it cooks (and also tends to dry out) more quickly.  For this reason, I cut it into cubes rather than strips, allowing it to cook for the same amount of time without turning into leather.  I added extra veggies (carrots, bell pepper, and onion)–you could also substitute broccoli, snap peas, or whatever else you have on hand.

Mongolian Venison Stir-Fry (based on this recipe and this recipe)
Time:  30 minutes
Serves 4

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. dry sherry
4 tsp. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
2 T. peanut oil
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch petals
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 T. peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. venison, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (beef or pork can also be substituted)
1 bunch green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
Hot cooked rice (about 1/2 cup uncooked rice per person)

Combine first 7 ingredients (through chile garlic paste), stirring until smooth.  Set aside.

Heat 1 T. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add carrots, onion, and bell pepper; sauté for 3-4 minutes or until onion is just tender.  Remove vegetables from pan; set aside.

In same skillet, heat 1 T. oil over medium-high heat.  Add ginger, garlic, and venison; sauté for 2 minutes or until venison is browned (but not cooked through).  Add reserved vegetables and the green onion; sauté 30 seconds.  Add sauce; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly.  Serve over hot cooked rice.

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