We all have our favorite holiday traditions. But this year, more than any other year, feels like a great time to shake things up a little or start fresh with brand-new traditions. One of the easiest ways to do so is with your holiday meal — specifically, by using venison instead of the usual beef, lamb, or pork.
Our pasture-raised venison’s flavor is distinct from any of those other meats — it’s grassier and more delicate, but still savory and super tender. In other words, it’s a great red meat alternative if you want your holiday dinner to be different, but not too different. Bonus: venison is leaner than other red meat and chock-full of nutrients, so it’s perfect if you want to make your holiday meal a little healthier.
Here, you’ll find a handful of fantastic venison recipes from the Silver Fern Farms kitchens that’ll fit right into your holiday plans.
If you’re kicking things off with a fancy appetizer…
Skip the fussy canapes and make these venison medallions instead — they’re great for holiday entertaining. We dice them up so they’re bite size, give them a peppery crust for a little bit of heat, and then quickly sear them so they stay perfectly tender. To make the medallions feel fancy and hors d'oeuvre-y, we top them with funky blue cheese and a richly sweet huckleberry sauce, which create a beautiful balance of flavors. With the sprinkle of pretty green chives on top, these medallions look almost too good to eat … almost.
Get the recipe for Black Pepper-Crusted Venison Medallions with Huckleberry Sauce.
If you’re thinking of making a roast…
This one pairs a beautiful venison roast with harissa, a Tunisian sauce made from hot chiles, olive oil, garlic, and warm spices, like cumin. We use the harissa as a marinade, which gives the meat some deeper, earthier flavors. This dish also has balsamic roasted carrots garnished with a savory pan sauce, pleasantly bitter radicchio, and fresh basil. Together, they add some vegetal crunch to the gloriously tender venison roast, as well as bright pops of color.
Get the recipe for Venison Roast with Harissa, Carrots & Radicchio.
If you need an entrée for a smaller holiday gathering…
Then this venison steak dish has your name written all over it! It’s perfect for more intimate dinners or if you don’t want to deal with all the leftovers of a roast. We sear the venison in a skillet with butter, garlic, and thyme — and then serve it on a bed of crispy potatoes, frisée, and sour cream. The finishing touch? A punchy chimichurri, which brings out the meat’s herby notes. It feels like a fresh, modern take on Grandma’s meat and potatoes, perfect for a celebratory holiday meal or a special winter dinner.
Get the recipe for Venison Steaks with Chimichurri & Crispy Potatoes.
If your family usually makes a stew…
Say hello to this amazing venison chili. The sauce is rich and savory-sweet thanks to a homemade ancho chile paste, tomato, poblano pepper, and dark chocolate. And it’s made with hearty, fork-tender chunks of venison, so it feels more elevated and rustic than, say, your typical ground beef chili. We like to top the bowls with punchy pickled jalapeño, tangy crema, and fresh cilantro — they brighten up all the deep, earthy spices.
This chili is great for more laidback holiday gatherings. It simmers together nice and slow on the stovetop over the course of a few hours, so you can play games and lounge around with friends and family while it does its thing. Tip: if you have leftovers, you can freeze them for future easy weeknight dinners.
Get the recipe for Chili con Carne with Venison.
Is it your first time cooking venison? Here are some big-picture tips for cooking venison so it turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful for your special holiday meal.