Venison Tamale and Grits Casserole
Slow-cooked tamales are delicious, but you don't always have all day to make them. If you're in the mood for that flavor but shorter on time, try this tamale and grit casserole instead, using some of your ground venison. The finished dish is meaty and cheesy, and it packs all the flavor of a slow-cooked tamale into a quick and easy dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Wiesenberger Mill, a nationally renowned mill near our house. If you can't find locally produced or stone-ground grits in your area, at least use regular grits instead of instant. Regular ground grits have a slightly coarser texture than instant and, while they take a bit longer to cook, the finished product is worth it. Also, finished grits don't absorb salt well, so add a bit of salt to your water before adding the grits for better flavor.
2 pounds ground venison
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 can (15.25 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 cups cooked grits (prepared with butter and salt according to package directions)
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons additional chili powder, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded queso cheese
Start by adding a tablespoon or so of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent and the pepper is soft. Add the ground venison to the pan and cook until the meat is just browned through.