Venison meatballs with Chef Hirschfeld

Tom Hirschfeld grew up in Indiana, graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism focusing on photojournalism, and moved to New York City sight unseen after making the newspaper rounds for a short bit. After kicking round NYC for a few years freelancing, 6 to be exact, he returned home. Back in Indiana, Tom did all the things he wanted to do: concrete worker, truck driver, and oil salesman, before marrying the most beautiful and wonderful wife in the world. He went back to school for a degree in education, but switched to culinary school and graduated with a degree in culinary arts. After working in restaurants for about 10 years, he bought a building, liquor license, and equipment for his own restaurant–but chucked the whole thing before it ever opened to be a stay at home dad. His family moved to the farm and Tom started taking pictures again after a 20 year hiatus. He started developing recipes, people started to tell him he could write, and that’s were FOODQUARTERLY comes in.

Eastern European Style Venison Meatballs (makes 4 servings)

For the meatballs:

1 pound ground venison, buffalo or beef (if using beef omit the pork but use 1 1/4 pound of beef)

1/4 pound ground pork belly or ground pork

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup cream

3 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 teaspoon ground rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper For the sauce:

1 quart venison stock or 1 quart good quality low sodium store bought beef broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon shallot

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water ( optional ) The method:

1. Place the bread crumbs into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the cream and let the

bread crumbs soak up the liquid.

2. Add the rest of the sausage ingredients to the mixing bowl and using clean hands mix the

ingredients thoroughly. Form the ground venison mixture into golf ball size meatballs. I like

to use a scoop to do this. Place the meatballs onto a parchment lined sheet tray with edges.

You can store the meatballs in the fridge, covered, until you are ready to bake them.

3. To make the sauce, place a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the wine let it come to a

boil. Let the wine reduce to a tablespoon or so. Add the shallots and the stock. Let the

stock come to a boil and reduce it (to about 2 cups) until it starts to thicken.

4. Whisk the mustard into the sauce. Remove the sauce from the heat but keep it handy.

5. Heat the oven to 325° F. Slide the meatballs (uncovered) into the oven and bake them for

25 to 30 minutes. If you have been storing the meatballs in the fridge and they are cold add

5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.

6. About 5 minutes before the meatballs finish cooking place the sauce back onto the heat, If

you want a thicker sauce bring the stock to a boil, add the cornstarch/water slurry and bring

the sauce back to a boil to thicken. Add the parsley and stir. Taste and adjust the


Tom Hirschfeld


Braised Red Cabbage ( serves 4 )

1 cup yellow onion, small dice

1/2 cup carrots, small dice

3 tablespoons rendered duck fat, unsalted butter or 1/2 cup minced bacon

1 small head of red cabbage, cored, shredded and rinsed

1/4 lingonberry jam or red current jam

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

The method:

1.Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place an enameled Dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pot

over medium high heat. Add the fat you have chosen to use and let it melt. Add the

carrots and the onions. Season them with salt and pepper and cook them until they

begin to soften.

2.Add the cabbage, season it with salt and pepper and stir it to coat with the fat. Add the

rest of the ingredients and stir it well until combined. I like to cover the cabbage with a

parchment lid which is nothing more than a piece of parchment paper cut into a round

that fits snugly into the pan and right down on top of the cabbage. This lets moisture out

but also keeps enough in to keep the cabbage moist. You can also just cover it with a lid,

it isn’t that big of a deal.

3. Cover the cabbage with a parchment lid or the lid for the pan and place it into the oven.

Bake the cabbage for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring it about every 30 minutes. Remove the

cabbage from the oven, taste it and adjust the seasoning and stir. Platter it up and serve.







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