This easy venison goulash is the perfect low-cost weeknight dinner when you are craving a hearty family meal.
I love this recipe because it reminds me of the simple budget-friendly meals loaded with pantry staples that you often find simmering on stovetops throughout the Midwest and South when budgets get tight. But don't let that make you think it is light on flavor! The combination of deer meat, macaroni noodles, seasonings, and melty cheese will have everyone asking for seconds.
What is it?
This venison goulash recipe is an American-style goulash, which means it is a cross between a Midwestern chili with noodles and a homemade Hamburger Helper. This differs from a traditional Hungarian goulash, which is more of a hearty stew loaded with lots of paprika, chunks of stew meat, and simmered for hours.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Elbow macaroni - Elbow macaroni is best, but any other small pasta can be substituted. Egg noodles would also work well.
- Ground venison - This recipe was designed for deer meat, but you can make it with ground beef or any other wild game meat as well.
- Olive oil - Any other vegetable oil can also be used.
- Garlic cloves - 1 teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted.
- Yellow onion - A sweet onion is a great substitute, but you can also use red onion if you want a stronger flavor.
- Diced tomatoes - You can substitute 1-2 cups of diced garden fresh tomatoes, or use canned crushed tomatoes.
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Beef broth - Beef stock works equally well.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
- Red wine vinegar
- Italian seasoning
- Paprika - Substitute sweet paprika for more of a kick or smoked paprika for a darker flavor.
- Ground black pepper
- Table salt
- Shredded cheddar cheese - Feel free to substitute your favorite shredded cheese.
Optional additions: Feel free to also add chopped green peppers and bay leaves.
How to make it
This goulash recipe with venison is made in three simple steps. It can be made as a one-pot dish, but I prefer to cook the noodles separately so I have more control over how long I wish to simmer the goulash before serving.
Begin by boiling the noodles in a large pot of salted water according to the package instructions. While doing this you can start browning the ground deer meat in a separate pot or Dutch oven with olive oil, onions, and garlic. Stir occasionally to ensure everything cooks evenly.
Once the ground meat is well browned you are ready to add the remaining ingredients to the pot, with the exception of the shredded cheese. Stir everything together to combine, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Finally, the elbow macaroni and shredded cheese can be stirred into the goulash. Serve topped with additional cheese and sour cream.
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
Your venison goulash should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoyed within five days. The easiest way to reheat this dish is by microwaving individual servings until heated through, which makes it perfect for bringing to deer camp too!
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- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 14 ounce canned diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Then drain the cooked noodles from the water and set them aside.*
- While the noodles cook, add olive oil to a pot set over medium-high heat, then add the ground venison, chopped onions, and garlic. Cook until the venison is well browned and onions are tender.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, except the cheese, and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, then stir in the elbow macaroni and cheese. Serve immediately.