I’ll be honest, I’m getting there.
If you’re a hunter, you know this time of year. It’s a hair before hunting season and your meat cooler isn’t empty yet. Not even close. And what do you have the most of? Ground-freaking-elk/deer/whathaveyou. Figuring out what else to put all the ground venison in is pretty much the reason I started this blog. I couldn’t find all that many creative recipes out there. If you can’t find the book, write it yourself, am I right?
So here we are again. It’s not quite the “make a bunch of chili and freeze it” season of early fall. Yet you’re still looking at tubes upon 2-pound tubes of ground-freaking-venison wondering, “Where is this going to go?.” Versatile as it may be, it gets a little old. So here’s the time I get very creative.
You know what you can put ground-freaking-venison in that’s pretty good, pretty easy, and pretty healthy? Inside a sweet potato, that’s where. This recipe is quintessential for the new school year. How is it, again, that with the kids out of the house all day things get crazier? If I had answers to questions like these, I’d be doing something that pays better than ad-free blogging. But I digress.
This recipe is pretty simple: Microwave sweet potatoes, cut in half so it goes faster. Scoop out about 1/2 the innards and throw away, give them to the dog, or save for another purpose. Brown the meat with seasonings, mix with beans and any other healthy junk you want to sneak into your kid’s diet, add cheese, bake for 10 minutes and voila! Dinner in like 25 minutes.
The best part about this recipe is you can kind of fill-in-the-seasonings. Here, I chose to go Greek with white beans, lemon, oregano, feta and olives. You could just as easily take it Tex-mex with black beans, taco seasoning and cheddar, or really any spice palette. Feeling Italian? Try fresh tomatoes and basil with some mozzarella on top. Just fill in the blanks to whatever suits your fancy, or whatever you need to get rid of in the fridge. If you don’t want your kids to whine “Sweet potatoes again?” then just cover it with more cheese.
Stuffed Sweet Potato Boats
- 4 sweet potatoes (halved)
- 4 heaped tablespoons olive oil (separated)
- 1lb ground venison
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 can cannelini beans
- 4oz feta (crumbled, plus more for garnish)
- 1/3 cup kalmata olives (roughly chopped)
- 4 green onions (white and light green parts sliced)
- 1 tablespoon spicy harissa sauce (if desired, or to garnish on top)
|Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil over the halved sweet potatoes and place on a foil-lined baking sheet cut side down. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is soft enough to scoop.|
|While the potatoes are baking, heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground venison with the oregano, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper to taste and cook until brown and most of the liquid has evaporated off, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and continue to cook until they are warmed through. Remove from heat to a large mixing bowl and let cool a couple of minutes. Then add the feta, green onion, lemon juice, olives and harissa (if using) and mix well.|
|Once the potatoes are done, flip them skin side down and scoop out the flesh, creating a well in the center and being careful not to tear the skin at the bottom. Reserve for another use. Add the meat filling to each potato, putting about a 1/3-ish cup in each one so they are all filled. Pop back in the oven for everything to warm through, about 5 minutes.|
|Sprinkle with extra feta and serve warm with harissa on the side (if using).|
Non-game substitution: Ground or shredded anything. Chicken and artichoke would be good, if you feel so inclined.
Vegetarian substitution: Leave out the meat and double the beans.