This is a great recipe to feed to people who don’t like venison, especially those who you might have lied to and told them it was ground beef. You wouldn’t do that though, right?
Karl and I crave Italian food all the time. And I use the term “Italian” loosely… as Italian as you can get from two mostly-Germans living in Wisconsin. But you know…rich tomato sauce, oregano, olive oil- we love it all.
Although we don’t eat big plates of spaghetti and garlic bread anymore, we still enjoy all of the Italian flavors that we used to. This soup is one of our “Italian” staples. It’s kind of like an Italian Chili.
In order to get the best stew possible, you’ll want to follow one simple rule: chop all the vegetables into small-ish pieces. Imagine you want to get at least three or four different types of each vegetable on a spoonful…because that is, in fact what you will want to do!
The recipe calls for diced tomatoes as well as marinara sauce- the diced tomatoes add a nice chunky texture and the marinara gives the soup a rich tomato flavor with little time or effort. Use home-canned marinara sauce or your favorite store-bought jarred pasta sauce. And make sure you check the ingredients of your store-bought sauce if intend for this recipe to be gluten and dairy-free, as some companies add those things to their product.
We can our own diced heirloom tomatoes every summer, which are awesome. I’m especially excited about Ball’s new BPA-Free Lids (affiliate link) which I always buy in bulk to save money. If we’ve had a bad tomato year or run out of our own canned tomatoes, we will use store-bought ones and seek out those brands that are lower in BPA or BPA free.
Looking for canned tomatoes without BPA lined cans (affiliates)?
Muir Glen removed BPA from their can linings in October 2011. I especially love their “fire-roasted” tomatoes.
Pomi Chopped Tomatoes packages their chopped tomatoes in Tetra-pak, aka “aseptic containers,” aka those square cardboard containers. I’ve really liked these when I have used them in the past.
Bionaturae has also removed BPA from their can linings- I have never had this brand but have heard only wonderful things about them and the quality of their products.
Eden Organics, in order to eliminate BPA, started packaging tomatoes in amber-colored glass jars. I’d get these just to keep the jars! They have some interesting information on their website regarding why they won’t use BPA free cans. Food for thought. And one more reason to can your own if you are able!
- 2lbs ground venison
- 2 Tbs lard or other cooking fat, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 14-15oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1½ cups marinara sauce
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)
- In a sauté pan, cook the ground venison in 1 Tbs lard or other cooking fat until it is browned and then set it aside.
- In a large soup pot heat 1 Tbs lard or other cooking fat and add in the diced onion, celery, green and red bell peppers and sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add to the pot the sea salt, minced garlic, chicken stock, diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, diced carrots, chopped cauliflower, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots and cauliflower are softened.
- Finally, add in the zucchini and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Ladle into bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Serve and enjoy!
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