Venison and Squash Meatballs with Roasted Heirloom Marinara

Recipe from Jupiter Ridge Farm

This is a fairly easy and ultra autumnal meal that can easily be made mostly out of on farm ingredients. This easy and rustic tomato sauce is made out frozen heirlooms from when the tomatoes were plentiful but the time to process them was short. These gigantic meatballs are sure to fill your belly, help make some room in your freezer, and put a smile on your face.

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 medium squash peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (we use kabocha but peeled butternut, buttercup, hubbard , or other firm squash will do)
  • 2 lbs ground venison (we blend ours to about 90-10 with pork fat)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup 1/4 inch cubed bread (old heels work great for this, if you use bread crumbs use 3/4 cup )
  • 1 med onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 0z red wine
  • 2 0z olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375 F, in a greased cast iron place cubed squash and roast until edges start to brown or about 2/3 done, about 10-15 min allow to cool. In large mixing bowl add venison, cooled squash, bread, onion, garlic, wine, oil, and seasoning, do not over-mix, mix only for about 3-4 minutes tops. The size of the meatballs is entirely up to you, but make them all the same size for even cooking. We make ours large, about 3 inches across and they take 50 min to an hour at 375, at 1 inch they take about 20 minutes. Place meatballs in a well greased baking pan, throw the pan in the oven, and check those bad Larry’s halfway through.

Sauce

  • 1 gallon frozen tomatoes, we use german striped, brandywine, and sometimes mixed cherries- whichever you choose the roasting will really bring out the sweetness
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 onion 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon each- basil, oregano, sage
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

Thaw tomatoes. Preheat oven to 375 F , add olive oil, onion and garlic to non-reactive roasing pan (glass or stainless steel in our house) and roast for 10 minutes or just until the onion and garlic starts to become transparent. Add thawed tomatoes and spices and roast for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours depending on desired thickness.

Serve over your favorite pasta and garnish with grated parm and fresh herbs.

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