The combination of meat, starch, and gravy is a cornerstone of Midwestern cooking. For me, beef and noodles is as Nebraska a dish as it gets: tender, shredded meat suspended in thick gravy and hearty egg noodles. If that’s not enough, this already starchy dish is often served with mashed potatoes. If a Nebraskan invites you over to dinner, know you’ll never leave the table hungry.
With helpful hints from Tenise Schmaljohn-Jarecke and Tammy Lane Schmaljohn, sisters who run the Sandstone Grill in Burwell, Nebraska, I’m able to share this delicious recipe. It was passed down to them from their grandma, Elda. Their beef and noodles has kept me going during many cold horseback riding and hunting excursions. This version can do the same for you since it also works great with venison.
Time to make
2 lbs. venison shoulder or neck (boneless weight)
Freshly cracked pepper
2 onions, roughly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 cups water
24 oz. Reames frozen egg noodles
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. white pepper
Beef flavor bouillon (about 1 tbsp. Knorr granulated)
1 qt. unsalted or low-sodium beef stock
Hot mashed potatoes, optional
Also works with
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat venison dry with paper towels and generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the roast. In an enameled Dutch oven pot, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add venison roast to the oil and sear on all sides for a brown crust.
- Add more oil as needed. Lower heat to medium. If there’s enough room around the roast, add sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and translucent (about 7 minutes), stirring often. Add smashed garlic and thyme and sauté for 1 minute. If there’s not enough room, remove the roast and return it to the pot afterward you’re done with the aromatics.
- Pour in 8 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot tightly and transfer to the 300-degree oven. Braise meat for about 2 to 3 hours or until venison becomes tender and shredable.
- Remove the tender meat and skim/strain out onion, garlic, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil on the stove and season it with beef bouillon and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the frozen egg noodles and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, shred or cut the venison into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot with the noodles. The liquid will thicken as the noodles cook and absorb it. Adjust heat and stir often to avoid scorching the bottom. The dish will be thick but it should still be saucy. Stir in beef or game stock as desired.
- When noodles become tender to your liking, stir in white pepper and season to taste. Serve over hot mashed potatoes. Keep more stock on hand to thin out reheated leftovers.