Cast Iron Venison Meatball Masala & Cauliflower

Lately I have been into making one skillet meals without trying to compromise taste. This one skillet venison meatball masala is a prime example of how to elevate wild game but also make it an easy weeknight meal. I made this dish on a Monday! A MONDAY! Mondays at our house are usually reserved for lazy leftovers. When I looked up Indian spices I found that some of the ingredients, while authentic, could be a little expensive and intimidating to those who might not make Indian cuisine often. 3 oz. of Garam Masala seasoning costs nearly $8 when I had the majority of the flavor profile spices already in my spice drawer. So I just went with that. Feel free to make adjustments as you see fit for your liking.

Let me know if you’d like to see more “one skillet” meals!

So what is masala anyways? Masala is any number of spice mixtures or used as a descriptive word meaning any dish flavored with masala (spices).

Ingredients

  • 1.25 pounds ground venison
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • cilantro, chopped (about 2-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (I like a lot!)
  • Heavy pinch of sea salt
  • Heavy pinch of white pepper
  • Dry Spices: Curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, and clove. Or go traditional and add Garam Masala which is a premix of those spices and more. I prefer to go the cheap route and utilize what I already have in my spice cabinet.
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or ghee which is traditional in Indian cooking)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced for serving

Method

  1. Combine ground venison, cilantro, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and a heavy pinch of dry spice mix. Form your meatballs to the size of your liking- I usually do about golf ball size. Refrigerate while you prep for the rest of your dish. This helps keep the meatballs together when cooking.
  2. You’ll save money by buying the whole head of cauliflower instead of those weird premixed bags. Slice the bottom off though the leaves are perfectly good to eat, turn upside down and gently get the “limbs” of your florets. This will leave less mess on your cutting surface. Set aside.
  3. Add a small amount of your favorite oil to a cast iron pan but make sure to coat the bottom. For these one pan dishes I like to use our giant cast iron. Heat on medium to medium-high heat.
  4. Fry your meatballs until golden brown on both sides but be sure not to over cook. There will be variances in the heat if using a large pan. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add butter to the oil on medium heat.
  6. Add cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dry spice mix and grated ginger. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring till cauliflower has a little color.
  7. Add crushed tomatoes and extra dry spice to your liking. I added a lot more curry powder.
  8. Add cream and meatballs back into the skillet. Turn heat down to simmer 5-10 minutes.
  9. Add jalapenos before serving.
Photo: Kristin Parma

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