Venison Meatballs and Potato Risotto

like i said in another version, we don't eat meat and potatoes much, and when we do, i of course like to make them more DENSE than a steak and baked potato.  i made the venison meatballs for some friends we had over for dinner the weekend before and they were a hit, so i decided to make them again, with a few changes. 
instead of putting cheese in them (i saved that for the potatoes!), i put in some shredded carrots.  and i added some ground flax seeds.

Venison Meatballs
1 lb ground venison....
or bison or lamb or beef
1/4 cup ready-made tapenade....
this made my life a bit easier!....if you don't have this or if you'd rather chop your own veggies, then i'd say about 1/2 an onion and a couple cloves of garlic.  i liked the shortcut for a change!

1/3 cup rolled oats, ground into flour in a spice grinder or food processor....grinding the oats isn't necessary, but i like the texture better.
2 tbsp ground flax seeds....grinding the flax seeds IS necessary here.....the nutrients are not absorbed as well if they are whole!
3oz shredded carrots
1 tbsp Italian seasoning or dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to your liking
2 tbsp olive oil
1 (14.5oz) can tomato sauce

mix everything together gently, except oil and tomato sauce, in a large bowl with hands.  then form into balls.  makes anywhere from 10 to 16 balls, depending on the size....i made 12.

heat large cast-iron(best choice) or non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  add oil and meatballs and brown on most sides to form a nice crust.  this should take about 6-8 minutes.  then turn heat to low and add tomato sauce.  cover and let meatballs simmer for at least 45 minutes, i cooked them for an hour, turning occasionally.  they were very tender and flavorful.

Potato Risotto

1.5 lb potatoes, peeled....i used medium red potatoes, but i bet yukon golds would be best!
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 & 3/4 cup stock
1 tbsp fresh oregano
juice from 1/2 lemon
2.5oz parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, grated or shredded
1/2-1 tsp salt, this depends on how salty your cheese is!!!
pepper to taste

cut potatoes into thin strips, about 1/2 inch long and 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  like so...

heat large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  add oil, onion, and potatoes.  cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  then add garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes.   reduce heat to medium-low and add half the stock.  stir and cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  add the other half of stock and cook another 15 minutes, again stirring occasionally.  after 30 minutes of cooking, most of the liquid should be absorbed.  add oregano, lemon, cheese, salt, and pepper, mix gently, but thoroughly. 

pile a forth of the risotto on a large plate and top with 3-4 meatballs and some sauce. 
this recipe made 4 big portions!  we had leftovers!

ran 4 miles again today....YAY!    hopefully i will be able to make it through the first Game Day Run.  come join us if you like!

my next post will be a guest blog.  my friend Whitney has been doing a lot of creative cooking lately and has posted TONS of pictures on facebook....stay tuned for EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHINI PASTA