By Michael Pendley
Comfort food just hits the spot sometimes, and this Stuffed Shells with Venison Meat Sauce recipe is about as comforting as it gets. Generously sized pasta shells get stuffed with a blend of cheeses and topped with a slow-simmered, meaty red sauce and even more cheese before being baked till golden and gooey. Serve with a slice of garlic bread and a nice salad for a complete meal.
2 pounds ground venison
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½-teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼-cup tomato paste
Handful fresh basil, chopped
2 cups shredded four-cheese Italian blend for topping
16 ounces jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon kosher salt
32 ounces cottage cheese
32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon salt
Start the recipe with the sauce. In a heavy pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, shallot and garlic. Stir constantly to prevent burning the garlic. Once the garlic and shallot have softened, about two minutes, add the ground venison. Stir well to combine,then continue cooking until the meat has browned.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for one hour. Add the fresh basil, stir well, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes.
While the sauce cooks, bring salted water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add the jumbo shells. Boil for six to eight minutes until just soft enough to bend; leave it al dente since it will continue to cook as the dish bakes. Once the pasta is ready, remove it from the pot and shock under cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake the pasta well to drain and set it aside.
In a large bowl, blend all the stuffing ingredients well. Use a spoon to fill each shell with cheese blend, then place it into a large baking dish.
Once all of the shells are filled and in the pan, pour over the meat sauce, using the back of a large spoon to smooth it over the cheese-filled pasta and work it down between the shells.
Top the dish with two cups of shredded Italian four-blend cheese or mozzarella cheese. Place into a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Try Out More Recipes with NSSF’s Game Meat Cooking Series
Where hunter and classically trained chef Georgia Pellegrini shares recipes from her book, “Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time.”
The Magnificent SevensBy Bob Robb If there’s one thing big-game hunters like to do, it’s to debate the relative merits of cartridges intended for hunting. When it’s all said and done, it is hard to argue with the 7mm cartridges for general all-around North American big-game hunting. My first “real” deer rifle was an old pre-’64Winchester Model 70 chambered in .270 that was my dad’s. But when I bought my first rifle—I wanted something I could hunt elk with and at the time, back in the late 1970s, and the .270 was considered quite marginal for the task—I purchased a Belgian-made Browning BAR chambered for the 7mm Rem. Mag. And I did, indeed, kill my first bull elk with it in 1978, as well as several mule deer, whitetails and pronghorn. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of hunting with the various 7mms and never been disappointed. These 10 “Magnificent Sevens” are my all-time favorites. 10) .284 Win.: Introduced by Winchester in 1963, the .284 Win. was designed to squeeze .270 performance from new autoloader and old-style lever-action rifles. The end result was a 7mm cartridge with about the same overall length as the .308 Win. but with a wider body that yields a powder capacity about the same as that of the .270 Winchester and .280 Remington. It’s a great little cartridge that never really got off the ground. 9) 7MM Remington SAUM: Introduced in 2001, the 7mm SAUM (Short Action Ultra Magnum), along with its sister cartridge, the .300 Rem. SAUM, was Remington’s entry into the then-new world of short magnums. Basically, this short cartridge can do anything the 7mm Rem. Mag. can do, but it does it in a lighter, shorter, fast-handling rifle while burning less powder. It is based on the same case as the .300 SAUM—the .300 Rem. Short Action Ultra Mag.—necked down to handle .284-inch bullets. It essentially uses less powder to achieve the same velocities as the standard 7mm Rem. Mag. and has slightly less recoil. However, it’s another cartridge that never developed a strong following. [caption id="attachment_3424" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Developed as a military round back in 1892, this short-action cartridge remains an excellent choice for whitetail hunters even today.[/caption] 8) 7mm Mauser (7x57): Developed as a military cartridge by Mauser and introduced way back in 1892, the cartridge first gained prominence after being adopted by the Spanish government and chambered in a limited number of bolt-action Mauser rifles. The “Spanish Mauser,” as it has since been known, was also adopted by Mexico and some South American countries for military use. In 1897, Remington chambered its old rolling block and Lee rifles for the cartridge, followed by its Model 30, and Winchester did likewise in its Models 54 and 70. Despite its virtues as a military round, the 7x57 proved itself early on as a superb big-game cartridge. Today, hunters can load the 7x57 with bullets ranging from 110- to 175-grains, though most choose the 140-grain as the best all-around hunting bullet. Ballistically, it ranks just slightly below the .270 Win., a cartridge many consider one of the best ever for deer-sized game. Recoil is modest, meaning most all people can shoot it well. With a muzzle velocity of just under 2,700 fps with the 140-grain bullet, the trajectory is excellent, making this fine little cartridge a superb deer/pronghorn round. 7) 7mm Remington Ultra Mag.: The 7mm RUM. was introduced in late 2000. All Remington Ultra Mag cartridges are necked-down versions of the .404 Jeffrey case, giving these beltless magnums a very large case diameter, which means increased powder capacity for increased velocity and energy over other cartridges using the same bullet diameter. Consider this: The .22-250 Rem. is known as one of the fastest, flattest-shooting varmint rounds of all time, yet the 7mm RUM with 140-grain bullet shoots flatter than the .22-250 with 55-grain bullet. Obviously, this is a cartridge that has been designed for long-range big-game hunting (though it will kick a bit!) 6) 7mm Shooting Times Westerner (STW): Back in 1979, noted gun writer Layne Simpson tried something new: necking down the then-new 8mm Rem. Mag. case to 7mm. He introduced the new cartridge to the world in the May 1989 issue of Shooting Times magazine, and the shooting and hunting public ate it up. The 7mm STW is a super long-range deer/elk round. Factory 140-grain loadings leave the barrel at about 3,325 fps, while the 160-grain factory load flies about 3,200 fps. The round has proven to be very accurate, doesn’t seem to kick a lot considering the velocity and energy delivered and has an extremely flat trajectory. 5) 7mm Weatherby Mag.: Developed in the 1940s by Roy Weatherby, nearly 20 years before the popular 7mm Rem. Mag., the 7mm Wby. Mag. did not get a lot of exposure until the early part of the 1950s when Weatherby rifles became more available. This cartridge gives non-handloaders “handloaded” 7mm Mag. performance, delivering about 400 fps more velocity than the 7mm Mauser. Though not as popular as several other Wby. Mag. cartridges, it’s well-suited for any North American game. [caption id="attachment_3428" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The 7mm Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) was designed in 2001 by Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Browning Arms Company. The case is based off a .300 WSM necked down to accept a .284-inch bullet.[/caption] 4) 7mm Winchester Short Magnum: The 7mm WSM was designed in 2001 by Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Browning Arms Company. The case is based off a .300 WSM necked down to accept a .284-inch bullet, and it delivers its best performances with bullets weighing 140 to 160 grains. However, it has failed to gain the same popularity as the other cartridges in the WSM family, notably the .300 WSM and .270 WSM. Still, it’s a fine hunting cartridge. [caption id="attachment_3427" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Developed in 1980, the 7mm-08 is now rightly recognized as one of the finest all-around cartridges ever developed for deer-sized game. It can be chambered in lightweight, short-action rifles, sports modest recoil and, when loaded with the standard 140-grain bullet, has plenty of “pop” to take the largest deer cleanly and quickly. It’s also quite accurate in most rifles.[/caption] 3) 7mm-08 Rem.: In an effort to combine the efficiency of the short .308 Win. case with the ballistic coefficient of a 7mm bullet, the 7mm-08 was introduced in 1980 by Remington, which somewhat falsely advertised it as “the first modern 7mm round designed for use in short-action rifles.” (The .284 Winchester, introduced in 1963, had come on the scene almost two decades earlier.) The 7mm-08 is also a direct copy of the wildcat 7mm/.308 that dates back to at least 1958 and was touted in P.O. Ackley’s Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders in 1962. Be that as it may, the 7mm-08 took a while to catch on with modern American hunters who for a decade or more went through a period of enthrallment with standard- and long-action rounds into which they could cram a high volume of powder in an attempt to break the sound barrier with muzzle velocity. But catch on it has and the 7mm-08 is now rightly recognized as one of the finest all-around cartridges ever developed for deer-sized game. The cartridge combines modest recoil with the ability to be chambered in lightweight, short-action rifles, and when loaded with the standard 140-grain bullet, there’s plenty of “pop” to take the largest deer cleanly and quickly. It’s also quite accurate in most rifles. [caption id="attachment_3425" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Introduced by Remington in 1962, the 7mm Rem. Mag. is a superb all-around long-range big-game cartridge with which one can confidently hunt all North American big game.[/caption] 2) 7mm Remington Magnum: The venerable “7 Mag.” has taken most all the world’s biggest, toughest game and it’s been used for decades by hunters seeking a combination of flat trajectory and downrange energy delivery. In its current design, the belted 7mm Rem. Mag. was introduced by Remington in 1962 at the same time the company replaced its Model 721, 722, and 725 bolt-action rifles with the new Model 700 series. Both have proven themselves to be timeless. The 7mm Rem. Mag. is a superb all-around, long-range big-game cartridge with which one can confidently hunt all North American big game. It is inherently accurate, and a wide range of bullet weights and styles can be used depending on the task at hand. The cartridge’s only downfall might be the fact that it can be somewhat of a kicker, which prevents many shooters from handling it as well as they might. [caption id="attachment_3426" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Introduced by Remington in 1962, the 7mm Rem. Mag. is a superb all-around long-range big-game cartridge with which one can confidently hunt all North American big game.[/caption] 1) .280 Remington: Introduced by Remington back in 1957, it was initially chambered not in the Model 700 bolt-action rifle but in the Model 740 autoloader. It later appeared in the Model 760 slide-action rifle and Model 721 and 725 bolt-actions. From 1979 to 1980, Remington called the cartridge the “7mm Express Remington,” hoping to spur sales by riding the wave of 7mm craze overtaking hunters at the time. Confusion reigned, though, so the next year the company returned to the .280 moniker. The .280 is, essentially, a .30-06 case necked down to 7mm, though it does have a slightly different shoulder location so that it can not (and should not) be chambered in either a .270 or .30-06. Generally speaking, the .280 Rem. can do anything and everything the .30-06 with 150- to 180-grain bullets can do when the .280 Rem. is loaded with bullets weighing between 140- and 160-grains. It is an inherently accurate cartridge that generates moderate recoil and is available in a huge array of production rifles. [caption id="attachment_3429" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Robb took this nice New Mexico bull elk with a handloaded 160-grain Nosler Partition in a .280 Rem.[/caption] The .280 is a cartridge I have lots of experience with. Back in the mid-1980s, I obtained one of the then-new Remington Model 700 KS Mountain Rifles chambered in .280, topped it with a Leupold Vari-X III 2.5-8X scope and went to work. While I shot some factory ammunition, I developed a load around IMR 4831 and the 160-grain Nosler Partition bullet that gave me a muzzle velocity of 2,820 fps and 100-yard three-shot accuracy of right at a half-inch. That rifle/load combination accounted for an almost embarrassing amount of big-game animals, including several bull elk and a pair of Alaskan interior grizzly bears. Neither of these big, tough animals noticed they weren’t hit with a big .338, dying quickly and cleanly when the Partition took out both lungs.
https://youtu.be/P4KzvssqOC0In this video, Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng explains for beginner shooters the various components that make up a rifle cartridge. Firearm instructors and experienced shooters are encouraged to watch and share this knowledge with newcomers to the shooting sports.
Turkey Ingredients1 pair of wild turkey legs and thighs 1 quart chicken stock 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Chicken base 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon dried chives Salt and black pepper to taste
Dumpling Ingredients2 cups all-purpose flour ½-teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons cold shortening or lard ¾-cup buttermilk or water
DirectionsStart by adding 2 quarts of chicken stock along with the poultry seasoning to the Instant Pot. Add the turkey legs and thighs and set the pot to pressure cook for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to natural release after cooking, about 30 more minutes. Remove the turkey, leaving the stock in the pot. Shred the turkey meat from the bone and set aside. Make the dumplings by mixing the flour, baking soda, salt and lard. Cut the lard into the dumplings with a fork until well blended. Add the buttermilk or water and mix well. Roll the dough onto a floured surface about ¼-inch thick. Cut into strips with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Set the Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add the remaining two cups of stock, the chicken base and the dried chives. Bring the mixture to a boil and drop in the dumplings a few at a time. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the dumplings are cooked through and the stock starts to thicken. Return the turkey to the pot and continue cooking until everything is heated through. Top with cracked black pepper and salt to taste before serving and garnish with diced fresh chives, if desired.
Try Out More Recipes with NSSF’s Game Meat Cooking Series
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF4EE32869227CCE5Where hunter and classically trained chef Georgia Pellegrini shares recipes from her book, "Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time."