Hunting season is right around the corner, the kids are back in school, and Americans are settling into the post-Labor Day, pre-holiday work groove, closing out the fiscal year and generally resuming busy lives. Slow cookers are incredible time-savers, opening up new recipe possibilities and saving busy families a lot of time in producing healthy, delicious meals.
While your average grocers' fridges and shelves may be well-stocked with staples like chicken, beef, turkey and pork, slow cooker meals don't need to be so domestic. Whether you have some frozen game haul you've been meaning to prepare, or want a little extra motivation on the season's first hunt, these recipes can give you all the flavor and variety of wild game with the convenience and ease of a slow cooker.
5 green chiles or Anaheim peppers 3 lbs. elk, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1-2 cups seasoned flour 2 medium onions, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2-4 jalapenos, seeded and diced 2 tsp. dried oregano 4-6 cups venison or beef stock 1 can white hominy, drained Salt and pepper 1/2 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
Directions: 1. Roast the green chiles over a hot fire, turning often until the skins turn black. Transfer the charred chiles to a paper bag or covered bowl to steam for five minutes. Using a fork or your fingers remove the charred skins, then stem and chop the peppers.
2. Heat 2 to 3 Tbsp. of oil in a heavy skillet. While the oil is heating, coat the diced elk with the seasoned flour by shaking it in a large paper bag. In small batches, brown the floured meat in the skillet, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer browned meat to slow cooker.
3. Add diced onions, garlic, jalapeno, green chiles, and dried oregano to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Pour stock over until it just tops the ingredients, cover the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours.
4. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in hominy, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm flour tortillas.
Ingredients: Three 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained 1 cup chopped onions 1 can diced green chiles 1/3 cup tomato sauce 2 Tbsp. tomato paste 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1 tsp. cumin Kosher salt to taste 24 venison meatballs, precooked 1 package soft sub rolls 12 slices Colby-Jack cheese
Directions: 1. Insert a liner into the slow cooker, or give the interior a light coat of non-stick cooking spray. Add the diced tomatoes, onions, green chiles, tomato sauce and paste, vinegar, cumin, and a pinch or two of salt. Stir well and set the slow cooker to high. Cook for two hours.
2. Add the venison meatballs and stir to coat. Set the slow cooker to low and cook uncovered for an hour, or until the sauce has thickened.
3. Split the sub rolls. Add four to six meatballs to the sub, along with a generous spoonful of sauce. Cover with two or three slices of Colby-Jack.
Ingredients: 2-4 duck breasts, skin-on 1/2 medium onion, sliced 2 stalks celery, chopped 4 medium navel oranges, cut into segments 1 can orange juice concentrate 1/2 cup chicken stock Zest of one orange Kosher salt Black pepper
Directions: 1. Place onion, celery, and three segmented oranges into the bottom of the slow cooker. Prick the duck skin all over with a sharp knife then place the breasts on top of the vegetables and fruit. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk together orange juice concentrate, chicken stock, and orange zest. Pour over the breasts then set slow cooker to low and cook for four hours covered.
2. Remove duck breasts from the slow cooker and place in the oven on a cookie sheet. Position the cookie sheet under the broiler and broil three to five minutes or until skin is crispy. Remove from oven and let rest.
3. Meanwhile, strain the remaining sauce and transfer it to a small pot. Reduce slightly, then serve with sliced duck breasts and remaining orange slices.
Ingredients: 4 cups leftover venison roast, diced 4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 1 medium onion, diced 1 Tbsp. thyme 1/4 cup venison or beef stock Worcestershire sauce Eggs, fried
Directions: 1. Add venison roast and vegetables to slow cooker and toss to combine. Sprinkle thyme, kosher salt, and pepper over the hash and pour in stock. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire to taste.
2. Cover and set the slow cooker to low. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender for about seven or eight hours.
3. Transfer hash to a plate and top with eggs fried over-easy.
Directions: Place celery and carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker and top with turkey breast. Drizzle olive oil over the breast and season with herbs, salt, and pepper. Place garlic cloves over and around turkey breast and pour in chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours.
Ingredients: 2-3 lbs. deer, elk, or other venison, cut into chunks 1 lb. venison Italian sausage links 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 Tbsp. tomato paste 2 Tbsp. dried Italian herb seasoning 6 cloves garlic, minced Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes 1 bay leaf Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: 1. Turn the slow cooker to high and add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Brown the venison chunks and the sausage, working in batches. Transfer browned meat to a plate and, if necessary, add more oil to the slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until lightly browned. Return the meat to the slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.
2. Cover the slow cooker and set to low heat. Cook until venison is tender, about six to eight hours. Using two forks, shred the meat and stir into the meat sauce. Cut the venison sausage into slices. Serve over cooked pasta.
Ingredients: 4-6 pheasant breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 cup pineapple juice 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup ketchup 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced 1-inch ginger, grated (about 1 Tbsp.) 1 to 2 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce 16 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
Directions: 1. Add all the ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and set the slow cooker to low. Cook for six to eight hours.
2. Uncover and turn the slow cooker to high. Simmer 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened.