Venison Parmigiana

By Beacon Staff

Some people are surprised to hear that I had a strong love for venison even before I moved to Montana.

One of my older brothers hunted in areas of Western New York and was usually very successful.

One of the first dinners my brother cooked for me when I moved to Montana was venison parmigiana. It is so simple, but the flavors are incredible – it will turn anyone into a venison lover. Eating game, whether it’s deer, elk, moose or buffalo, is an acquired taste. Personally, I prefer the taste of deer that graze in mountain fields.

Once I started living on my own and doing my own grocery shopping, I earned an appreciation for hunting. Last fall was my first season as a hunter.

After a number of futile outings, I was fortunate enough to harvest my first deer! It was not only a rite of passage but also a valuable lesson in patience and humility. Your mind goes through a strange process when you’re on the way to a hunt, not knowing if you’ll see anything or if you’ll get a clean shot if you do see something.

It was difficult for me to flip the switch in my mind from thinking of hunting as killing an animal to viewing it as a way to provide my family with lean meat.

Being a hunter gives you a greater connection with wildlife and a much deeper appreciation for what the wilderness can provide you. Hunting is a waiting game, but you get such satisfaction when you’re successful. Even still, if there isn’t a moment of sadness, you’re not human.

This dish is a great way to use any venison steaks you have left in the freezer. It also offers a nice change to the common venison meals and is great served with a side of pasta.

This recipe for venison parmigiana will surely satisfy the hunter in your life and leave them asking for more.


  • 2 lbs. boneless venison steaks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Pound steaks to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into serving-size pieces.

In a shallow bowl, beat egg and milk.

In another bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

Dip venison in egg mixture, then roll in crumb mixture until fully coated.

In a large skillet, brown meat in oil on both sides. Place in a greased 13” x 9” baking dish.

In remaining drippings, sauté onion for two to three minutes or until tender.

Stir in water, tomato paste, pepper, salt, sugar, and marjoram to make sauce.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five minutes.

Pour sauce over venison.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until meat is tender.

Uncover and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Cailin is a student of The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall 2013 program. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com or call instructor Hillary Ginepra at 756-3862.

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