I was invited to a childhood friend’s 50th birthday party last weekend (yes, I’m soon there myself)! The party was a pot luck and was in Minnesota, land of the hotdish, so I decided to bring a dish to share that incorporated things I had harvested myself from the wilds of Wisconsin. I rarely start with a planned recipe, choosing to use things I have on hand already rather than making an unnecessary trip to the grocery store if I can avoid it. In this case I was well prepared.
I have plenty of venison left in the freezer from my last harvest, and several pounds of wild rice from last season. This is where I started, selecting a 1.5 pound package of ground venison from the freezer. I also had celery and onion on hand, but was missing carrots. Thinking I would go without, I was glad to find a sweet potato in the crisper that I had purchased on a whim a week before. I wanted to make the dish extra special so I also added some crushed dried wild grape leaves I had plucked last summer.
The dish was a hit at the party, and my friend asked for the recipe. I will share it here for all to enjoy.
Makes enough to go around!
- 1.5 lbs ground meat (venison, lamb, beef, chicken or turkey)
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 ribs celery
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp crushed dried grape leaves
Begin by rinsing wild rice well and set aside. Cook ground meat, add salt, pepper, celery and onion to pan and cook until veggies are slightly cooked. Place in crock pot with rice, broth, sweet potato, grape leaves, garlic and thyme. Cook on high setting for 2 hours, then turn down to warm until serving. You may add dried cranberries when it is done cooking for a little extra sweet treat.