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I kept thinking about baked potato ingredients, but I needed to add some meat. Chopped beef would be good, but not what I had available. What I DO have plenty of is ground venison, and the outcome could not have been better. It was one of those self-satisfactory moments. I knew from the moment I laid all my ingredients out for their photo-op debut that this would be a meal that would go straight into the recipe box, and will eventually be covered in grease. That’s how you know the best recipes – the pages are filthy from exposure to the elements of cooking. The mediocre recipe pages are still clean – not a good sign.
To make this delicious and hearty meal you will need:
Ground venison | Potatoes | Olive oil | Salt | Pepper
Bacon | Cheese | Sour cream | Butter | Seasoning | Green onion
Step 1 ~ 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Wash and slice 3 – 4 medium baking potatoes into very thin slices, at least 1/8 inch.
I initially washed four potatoes but after slicing three up I decided that would be enough. Place the potato slices in a medium to large bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 Tbsp), and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Stir the potatoes to coat completely.
Line 2 baking pans with aluminum foil and place the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets.
Place pans on top and bottom rack in the oven and bake for ten minutes.
Step 2 ~ 15 – 20 minutes
While the potatoes are baking:
Fry two pieces of bacon in a large cast iron skillet (if available).
Once crispy, remove to a paper towel and cool. Crumble once cool.
Additionally, brown one pound of ground venison in a separate large skillet.
While the meat is browning, thinly slice three green onions, tips only.
Once the meat is completely browned and crumbled, add an 8 ounce container of sour cream, the sliced green onion, and 2 Tbsp butter* (reserve about 1 Tbsp green onion for the topping).
Stir to combine. Add the seasoning of your choice, in my case, about 1 Tbsp Ragin’ Blaze Cajun Seasoning.
Stir until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are combined.
Remove from heat and set aside.
*Butter is completely optional, but I put it on baked potatoes, sooo…
Step 3 ~ 5 – 10 minutes
At some point during the process of browning the meat, your timer will probably go off telling you to check your potatoes. I fully anticipated the need to flip my potatoes and continue cooking them after my initial ten minutes. I was surprised to find that they were completely cooked the way I wanted them. Some of them tried to stick to the foil, but I scraped them off. It doesn’t matter if some of them crumble or break. You’ll never see them after the next step.
If the potatoes finish cooking before your meat is ready, set them aside. If they need to be returned to the oven, keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Five to ten minutes should be the most they will need to cook the second time around. When the potatoes are done cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350°.
Step 4 ~ 5 minutes
If you have a large cast iron skillet, grab it. Otherwise, any medium casserole dish will work. I fried my bacon in my skillet and wiped the extra grease out of it, but this left my skillet with a nice non-stick oil coating. You may want to spray your skillet or dish with cooking spray if it’s missing that bacon grease protection.
Layer 1: Line the bottom of your dish or skillet with half of the cooked potatoes.
Layer 2: Spread half the meat and sour cream mixture over the potatoes.
Layer 3: Sprinkle 1 c shredded cheese (I used cheddar) over the meat.
Layer 4: Repeat another layer with the rest of the potatoes.
Layer 5: Add the rest of the meat mixture.
Layer 6: Top with 1 c cheese, crumbled bacon, and a sprinkling of green onion.
Step 5 ~ 15 – 20 minutes
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Pair this cheesy goodness with a light, fresh salad for a complete meal.
It was all I could do to leave any leftovers for Coach to take the next day. I wanted to finish them off right then and there. But I guarantee it will not be long before our house is filled with the aromas of cheese, potatoes, bacon, and green onion again. I hope this combination makes you as happy as it made me.
How do you load a baked potato? What would you add to these Venison Skillet Baked Potatoes?