Wild Recipes

Instant Pot “Pot Likker” Venison and Spring Greens

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This is a laid-back recipe, perfect for the cool, damp days of early spring. It combines the comforting richness of hearty game meat with the freshness of verdant vegetables, brought together with the convenience of an instant pot. 

I was inspired by traditional recipes from the southern United States that feature smoked meat or bacon and slow-cooked greens that create the flavorful liquid known as “pot likker.” This stuff is where much of the nutrients from the greens wind up and can be reserved for use in other culinary creations. Collards are the base vegetable for this dish, and their toughness tenderizes quickly under pressure alongside the meat. 

For the protein, I chose a pair of small venison shanks and some applewood smoked venison ribs. You could also use a neck, shoulder, or hindquarter roast that fits in your instant pot. Smoked wild hog hocks and meaty bones would be delicious too. You’ll wind up with ribbons of sweet and spicy, melt-in-your-mouth greens with savory bits of succulent meat throughout.

After the main cook, feel free to add lighter vegetables. Asparagus, snap peas, and broccoli florets are wonderful choices. I threw in a few handfuls of beautiful flowering tatsoi rabe from a local farm. I brightened up the presentation with wild herbs and tangy hot sauce. As you enjoy this nourishing dish, reflect in gratitude on seasons past and present and those yet to come — the ceaseless cycle of winter and spring, bounty and scarcity, life and death.

Serving Size: 8-10 servings
Time to make: 2 hours
Special Equipment: Instant pot
Also works with: Wild hog

Note: A long pressure cook can make delicate bones disintegrate, so I would avoid using smoked poultry for this recipe. You want bones to slide out of the meat, not break apart!

Serve with brown rice or cornbread to soak up the pot likker, and top with a vinegar-based hot sauce. Also makes a great accompaniment for grilled meat.



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Instant Pot “Pot Likker” Venison and Spring Greens

Recipe by Heidi Chaya
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Wild Recipes
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

30

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs bone-in venison or other hoofed game meat, ideally smoked

  • 2 lbs large collard greens, cut into ribbons

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon lard or tallow

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 6 cups stock or bone broth

  • 2 cups tender spring vegetables/herbs

  • Salt, black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  • Prepare the collard greens by removing the stems, rolling up the leaves, and slicing them into strips (see photo).
  • Using your instant pot’s sauté setting, cook the chopped onions in the fat until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine, then the game meat and collard greens and cover everything with the stock.
  • Lock the instant pot lid, and cook for 60 minutes at high pressure.
  • Once the cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Unlock and remove the instant pot lid. Shred the meat with a fork. It should separate from the bones easily. Remove the bones from the pot.
  • Incorporate additional vegetables and let them cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

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Heidi Chaya

Heidi Chaya is a food journalist, farmhand, and avid home cook. Her experiences living and working in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley provide her with many opportunities to expand her culinary horizons and continue to learn and grow through fishing, foraging, and hunting.

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