Venison Rice Recipe – Venison Risotto


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Yes, you can make risotto with red meat. This venison risotto is a riff of a beef risotto dish from northern Italy. It’s essentially a venison rice porridge, loose and rich. Serve it in a bowl.

There are countless ways to make venison rice: Cajun jambalaya springs to mind, and you could modify Lowcountry chicken bog to use slow-cooked, shredded venison. But venison risotto, is, to me, the best way to go about it.

It’s rich, loaded with flavor, warming on a winter day, yet light enough for a summer supper, pretty to look at, and reasonably easy to make.

Many of the elements in this venison risotto mimic the beginnings of a classic Italian-American red sauce: tomato, onions, garlic, red wine, herbs. But instead of a sauce + pasta, it’s all in one pot with rice.

You can use any kind and cut of venison here: Deer, elk, antelope, moose, etc. Any red meat works, and this dish is traditionally made with beef. I bet lamb would be nice, too. As for cuts, I prefer leftover braised, chopped or shredded meat.

That means venison rice is a great weeknight dinner after a Sunday dinner of, say, braised venison shoulder, or Polish pot roast, or even venison barbacoa. In this case, I used leftover shank meat from my Austrian braised shanks recipe.

If you don’t have leftover venison to add, you can use a tender cut like backstrap, diced small, then added at the end so it doesn’t overcook. Another option is a bit of ground venison at the beginning, browned with the onions — this option makes the venison risotto very close to a typical red sauce.

The other important ingredient in venison risotto is venison stock. You really ought to have some. It’s easy to make if you are a hunter, and it pressure cans beautifully. If you don’t have any, use low-sodium beef stock.

There’s one additional, optional ingredient that really makes this venison rice: fat. The first time I made this, I made it with nilgai and nilgai fat; these animals are bovids, so their fat isn’t waxy like deer. The best fat I ever used for this dish was smoked beef tallow. OMG. So good.

Use a good fat, even if it’s just nice butter like Kerrygold or Plugra or somesuch. Beef tallow would be awesome, as would duck fat or homemade lard. If you’re not into that, use good olive oil.

I use California black sage in my venison risotto, but any fresh sage is fine. Black sage is amazing, and if you live in central California you can find it in the countryside.

Close up of a bowl of venison rice, with a glass of wine.

Serving and Storing

Venison rice is best served as soon as it’s made because it will congeal and set up hard as it cools. I normally serve it solo, or with a simple green salad.

You also could serve venison risotto as a course in a large game meal, in which case I’d follow it with something classic, like venison au poivre or venison with Cumberland sauce or steak Diane.

If you have leftovers, you can revive the rice by reheating with a little more stock, or you can stir in a beaten egg or two, roll into patties or balls, coat in flour or breadcrumbs and fry. Those make a killer lunch.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

  • Heat the butter or beef tallow in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and rice and saute another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chopped or shredded braised meat, add a little salt and then the tomato paste. Stir this well to combine and let it cook a minute.

  • Add the sage and red wine. It will spatter. Stir constantly until the wine cooks almost away, then add 1 cup of the stock. Stir this for about 30 seconds, then drop the heat to medium and let it cook, stirring occasionally.

  • When the liquid has mostly cooked away, add another cup of stock and stir that for 30 seconds, then let it cook down again, stirring occasionally, Repeat this process until the rice is tender. You will need all four cups, and possibly more if the rice is old. Use water in that case. You want the rice to be tender but not mushy.

  • Stir in the grated cheese and black pepper, and another tablespoon of butter or fat if you want. Serve at once.

I prefer to use leftover braised meat for this risotto, but you have options if that’s not available to you. 
  • You can cut some clean, tender venison like backstrap or sinew-free hind leg meat into small dice and add this along with the last cup of stock when you are cooking the rice. 
  • You can add 1/2 pound of ground venison in the beginning, with the rice. Cook this until the meat has nicely browned. The end result will be a bit different from this recipe, but still very good. 

Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 902mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 289IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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