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Venison Meatballs

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Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground venison
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste, divided
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 large green bell peppers, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, dried, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal or fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 (15 ounces each) cans tomato sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf

Preparation:

Meatballs: Mix venison with the egg, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, half of the chopped onion, half of the chopped green pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and the uncooked oatmeal. Moisten with a little of the tomato sauce if the mixture is dry. Mix well, form into meat balls. In a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat, add the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook meatballs in batches until browned on all sides; transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350°. Cool then refrigerate until an hour before serving. The meatballs can be made the night before.

Sauce: In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine remaining tomato sauce and paste, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, remaining chopped onion, remaining chopped green peppers, and minced garlic. Cook for 5 to 6 hours on LOW. Check and add a little water if necessary. Add bay leaf and meatballs one hour before serving time. Remove the bay leaf, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve hot over pasta.
Makes about 3 dozen meatballs, or enough for 8 to 10 servings with spaghetti or other pasta.

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