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Prep Time: 2-2½ Hours
Yields: 4-6 Servings

The shape of venison heart makes it perfect for stuffing! This recipe combines the hearty flavors of Italian sausage and herbs with seasoning vegetables to create a wonderful entrée for the bayou hunting camp.

2 venison hearts
1 pound Italian sausage
4 tbsps butter
½ cup minced onions
¼ cup minced celery
¼ cup minced bell pepper
2 tbsps minced garlic
½ cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped parsleyr
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 quart beef stock (see recipe)
2 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut heart open by placing a sharp knife blade parallel to the cutting board and slicing ⅓ of the way into the heart. Clean by removing veins and arteries. Rinse with cold running water and set aside. In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat then add minced onions, celery, bell pepper and minced garlic. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. When cool, add sausage, bread crumbs and parsley. Season lightly with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Remember that the sausage is pre-seasoned. Stuff a generous portion of the sausage stuffing into each of the prepared cavities cut into the hearts. Secure and close tightly using toothpicks or skewers then tie tightly with kitchen string. This should close the stuffing firmly into the heart and keep it from falling out during cooking. If any additional stuffing remains, roll into golf ball-sized meatballs and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season hearts lightly with salt, pepper and granulated garlic and brown thoroughly on each side. Surround the hearts with red onion slices, chopped celery and smashed garlic. Add stock, bring to a rolling boil, cover and bake approximately 2 hours or until tender. Additional stock or water may be necessary to retain volume. When hearts are tender, drop raw meatballs, if any, into the gravy and allow to bake 10-15 minutes or until done. To serve, slice and top with natural juices. This dish is great served with dirty rice or mashed potatoes.




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