Monday, January 24, 2011

another snowbirds slow-cookin' saturday!

So, we've taken quite the liking to my new slow cooker and after two weeks of awesome turkey chili leftovers, we decided to give it another go with some venison that Dave procured. This is the first of many meals we'll be making with said venison, because there is literally POUNDS of it. Anywho, here's what we came up with - and boy, was it good.

Slow Cooker Venison Minestrone:
 (for 3.5 quart slow cooker)
-     3/4 lb. venison
-         1 (15.5 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained
-         1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
-         16 oz. beef stock
-         12 oz. tomato sauce 
-     3/4 cup dry ditalini soup pasta
-         2 garlic cloves, minced
-         3/4 cup Spanish onion, minced
-         6 baby carrots, chopped
-         3 oz. spinach, rinsed and ripped
-         1 heaping tsp. dried basil
-         1 heaping tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
-         ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
-         ½ tsp. dried oregano flakes
-         ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
-    2 pinches of cayenne pepper
-         salt and pepper, to taste 
-    salted flour, for dusting venison


  1. Cut venison into bite-sized pieces. Roll the pieces in the salted flour until evenly and lightly covered.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add venison when pan is heated and sear for about fifteen minutes until all the sides of the venison are browned.
  3. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker – don’t discard drippings. Add onion to the pan & season with salt and pepper. Cook for about five minutes, then add carrots and garlic. Cook for several more minutes, stirring. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. Add stock, tomato sauce, tomatoes and spices to the slow cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 ½ to 6 hours or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  6. When there is 30 minutes of cooking time left, add the beans to the slow cooker.
  7. When there is 15 minutes of cooking time left, prepare the pasta in salted water according to instructions. When pasta is cooked, add it to the slow cooker along with the spinach (add spinach gradually). Stir for several minutes until all ingredients are evenly incorporated and spinach is wilted. 
Note: This isn't our minestrone, but it sure looks like it!

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