French Onion Soup is one of my favorite dishes of all time. Sweet, savory, loaded with gooey cheese, what’s not to like about it? Same goes for venison meatballs. We make several variations, and we love them all.
This recipe combines the two. The meatballs get stuffed with rich, caramelized onions and cheese, browned in a cast-iron skillet, then simmered in a rich onion gravy and topped with more cheese to finish.
Serve them over mashed potatoes or egg noodles for a main course, or on toasted French bread slices for an appetizer.
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 large sweet yellow onions
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup beef or venison stock
1/2 teaspoon beef base or 1 cube beef bullion
1/4 cup red wine
2 pounds ground venison
2 slices white bread soaked in milk
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz provolone cheese
4 ounces Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
Fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish optional
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups beef or venison stock
1 teaspoon beef base or 1 cube beef bullion
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch blended into 3 tablespoons water
salt & pepper to taste
Start the dish with the onions. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sprinkle over the salt. Cook the onions down, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until they take on a nice golden color. Add the garlic, wine, stock, thyme, and beef base. Continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes, or until the onions are deep, rich burgundy in color and are soft enough to easily smash under a spoon. Remove the onion mixture from heat and allow it to cool.
Add the ground venison to a large mixing bowl. Tear the milk-soaked bread into bits and add to the bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, parsley and beaten eggs. Use your hands to blend everything well. The mixture should be slightly sticky.
Flatten a handful of meat into a patty in your palm. Add a spoonful each of the onion mixture and shredded mozzarella cheese. Fold the edges of the patty up and seal to form a meatball around the filling. Continue the process until all the meat has been used. Don’t worry if you have leftover onions, we’ll use them later.
Heat canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Gently brown the meatballs on all sides. Don’t worry about cooking them through at this point, just brown the surface.
While the meatballs brown, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy sauce pan. Add the flour and stir well to form a roux. Continue cooking until the roux takes on a golden-tan color, about 5-8 minutes. Pour in the stock and red wine. Add the bullion and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and continue boiling until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the sauce to a large Dutch oven or ovenproof dish with lid. Add any onions that remained from the stuffing process. Nestle the meatballs into the onion gravy. Top with the Swiss, provolone, and any remaining shredded mozzarella over the top of the meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or toasted French bread slices. Top with chopped fresh parsley or diced chives for garnish, if desired.
There’s work to do after the trigger is pulled, but the cleaning and the cooking can be fun as the hunt itself. Timber 2 Table is where Realtree’s experts will teach you to skin a squirrel in 1 minute, cape a buck for the wall, grill a delectable wild turkey popper and so much more.