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Who's Cooking: Beth Spiess, Southold

Beth Spiess displays her dish of venison meatball

Beth Spiess displays her dish of venison meatball stew; she also uses venison sirloins, fillets and roasts. (Jan. 6, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

A paralegal, Beth Spiess lives in Southhold with her husband, Jim Spiess.

What do you like to cook? I love to cook, I love to bake. I have cookbooks and recipes, old Bon Appetits all over the house. It's a hobby. I love entertaining, planning the menu and setting the table just so. I was fortunate enough to marry a man who hunts, and when we got married I started to develop venison recipes to put the meat to good use.

How much venison do you eat during a typical season? Well, it depends on what Jim brings home, but we probably eat as much venison as the average person eats beef. Last year he got his biggest deer, so we had about 60 pounds of meat. I feel good about eating it because it's low fat, it's healthy, it's chemical-free. I have sirloins, fillets, roasts and plenty of chopped meat in the freezer.

What are some tips for cooking venison? It's like beef, but there's no fat in it, so you have to keep that in mind. Recipes that won't dry out the meat are the best: Stews, chili. When I make venison burgers I add some olive oil. Farm-raised venison can be purchased online if you want to try it.

Can you make this recipe with another type of ground meat? Any other chopped meat -- ground beef, turkey, chicken -- will work. If you are going to use a fattier meat like ground chuck, you can leave out the oil that goes into the meatballs.

Venison Meatball Stew with Root Vegetables

Spiess serves this stew over creamy polenta or noodles.

For the meatballs:

1 ½ pounds ground venison

1 large egg

½ cup plain breadcrumbs

½ cup finely chopped onion (from 1 medium onion)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

Ground black pepper

For the root vegetables:

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into wedges

3 carrots, peeled and cut on bias

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


Ground black pepper

1/3 cup flour

4 cups low-sodium canned beef broth plus more if necessary

1 cup frozen peas

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Make meatballs: Combine venison, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, parsley Worcestershire sauce, oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Form into 1-inch balls. Set aside while cooking vegetables.

2. Make root vegetables: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high until hot. Add onions and carrots and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

3. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to pot and heat until hot. Add sweet potatoes and rutabaga and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and brown, about 15 minutes.

4. Return carrots, parsnips, and onions to pot, add basil, oregano, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add beef stock and bring to a boil.

5. Add meatballs and gently push into stew. Cover and bake until meatballs are cooked through, about 1 hour. Stir in frozen peas (they'll cook from the heat of the stew). Add more beef broth if stew sauce is too thick. Adjust seasonings and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

KNOW A GREAT HOME COOK? Write WHO’S COOKING, Food Dept., Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747 or Marjorie Robins at

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