Venison, Beef, and Pork Bolognese is simple, delicious, and a showstopper. The different meats bring something special to this dish, making it other-worldly. Using the freshest ingredients, Bolognese has the potential to be the most comforting meal on earth.
I’d like to share why each of the ingredients in this Bolognese recipe is important.
Venison in Bolognese Sauce
Of course, you can use beef skirt steak mixed with beef filet and get a texture and flavor similar to venison, but if you have venison, it’s my meat of choice. Venison has an earthy flavor you really can’t duplicate. Venison is lean and quite flavorful, lending itself beautifully to being mixed with pork and beef. For more about venison, check out my post 10 Tips to Know When Preparing Venison.
Beef in Bolognese Sauce
The beef in this recipe has the added fat needed to round off the texture, making the meat mixture a little softer yet retaining the meaty textures needed to make this dish interesting.
Pork in Bolognese Sauce
Whether you use supermarket pork or wild pork, you will gain incredible flavor for the final dish. Pork actually adds a little sweetness to the flavor of this dish, along with the tomatoes. Pork improves the consistency of the dish and adds a milder flavor than the beef and venison.
The prosciutto adds a salty, briny flavor that makes this dish ultra interesting. If you substitute in the other meats, you will still get a wonderful dish, but I feel that prosciutto is a key ingredient in this Bolognese recipe. Still, if you don’t have it or don’t want to spend money on it, don’t let it stop you from making the recipe. You will be missing one of the flavor elements, but it still will be great.
Why Add Milk?
Interestingly, many people soak venison in milk before they cook it. They say that it removes the gamey taste and makes the venison more tender. I’ve never done this, but milk does result in a richer depth of flavor and a more tender meat in this recipe. I’ve tried it both ways, and I like it best when milk is added.
What Can I Substitute for the Wine?
Of course, wine is added to Bolognese. Often I get asked, “What can I substitute for the wine?” I get it. For years, I didn’t like having wine in the house, but there’s really nothing like it for flavor in stews and soups. I will say adding Worcestershire sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice will brighten the flavors if you need a substitute for the wine.
Serve Venison, Beef, and Pork Bolognese with a side salad and Homemade Crusty Bread and let the meal speak for itself. Nothing else is needed!!
Bolognese with Venison, Beef, and Pork
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork belly
- 1/4 pound of prosciutto
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 oz 28-cans tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 lbs fettuccine or homemade pasta
- freshly ground parmesan for serving
- In a Dutch oven, brown the venison, beef, pork, and prosciutto and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Remove any accumulation of fat and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes. The meat will look a little dry, but that is exactly what you want. It will be full of flavor.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and reduce by half, cooking for about 15 minutes. Add the milk, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. Allow to cook for about 1 1/2 hours.
- During the last half hour, bring a large pot of water to a boil and heavily season with salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta. Remove Bolognese from the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Grate fresh parmesan over the top.