Venison Meatballs with Dried Currants

Executive Chef John Reis of Hilton Harrisburg shares a recipe for Venison Meatballs with Dried Currants and Braised Red Cabbage.

Yield: about 4 dozen



1 pound ground venison

1 pound ground beef

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

¼ cup minced onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 cup bread crumbs

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 ounces dried currants

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup Merlot

8 ounces currant jelly

2 cups brown sauce



1. Combine ground venison and ground beef into bowl, add the salt, pepper and allspice. Add ¼ cup onion and next 5 ingredients. Mix thoroughly at low speed. Shape mixture into 1″ meatballs.

2. Place on sheet tray and bake at 325° for about 15 minutes

3. Meanwhile cook chopped onion and garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste. Cook until paste begins to brown. Stir in currants and next 5 ingredients. Cook over medium heat, scraping bits that cling to the bottom of the skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, add brown sauce and currant jelly and simmer for 3 minutes.

4. Add meatballs to the sauce, bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally until meatballs are thoroughly heated. Serve warm with Braised Red Cabbage.


Braised Red Cabbage:

6 to 8 servings



1 tablespoon butter

1 red cabbage, sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ red onion, sliced

1/3 cup red wine

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup currant jelly



1. Melt butter in sauté pan, add the sliced red onions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and lower the heat to low-medium. Turning once in a while, until the cabbage is soft, but still slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

2. Remove the lid and deglaze the pan with the red wine, bring up flame and cook uncovered until the wine is reduced by at least half. Add the red wine vinegar and reduce a little, add the currant jelly and toss to coat. Cook 2 to 3 more minutes, adjust for seasoning.


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