Featured Image - John Wayne Venison Casserole

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Our family loves John Wayne movies, so when I discovered this dish, adapted from an actual recipe that John Wayne submitted for a cookbook, I had to try it. This John Wayne Venison Casserole is perfect for your next potluck dinner. It always goes over very well.

Serving a Halved Recipe of John Wayne Casserole in a Square Baking Pan

When our pastor’s wife brought this casserole to a potluck dinner last year, I loved it so much, I asked for her recipe. Intrigued by the name, I had to investigate more about this dish.

Visiting the Birthplace Home of John Wayne

It turns out that John Wayne submitted a recipe to a young girl compiling recipes from famous people to make a cookbook as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The softcover cookbook was published in 1979 as “Cooking with Love from Cara and Her Friends.” You may learn more about the cookbook and the story HERE.

The actual recipe that John Wayne submitted was apparently more of a breakfast casserole with eggs and cheese. Somewhere along the line, it turned into a southwestern dinner casserole with the addition of a crust and ground burger–which is the basis for the recipe I worked with. This alternate John Wayne Casserole was nicknamed “The Duke,” and was served at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cafeteria in Jackson, Mississippi.

It’s always fun to learn about the history of a recipe. As I searched even more, I found versions that used tater tots or even refrigerator biscuits as the base. Both would be really good. However, I used southern-style hash browns and also added ground venison in place of the beef.

 

Need More Potluck Dinner Ideas?

 

Ingredients for John Wayne Venison Casserole

(See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.)

  • olive oil
  • ground venison (or lean ground beef)
  • sweet onion
  • minced garlic
  • taco seasoning (see my recipe Here.)
  • 3/4 cups water
  • frozen southern hash browns (with onions and peppers), thawed
  • sour cream
  • mayonnaise
  • petite diced tomatoes
  • diced green chiles
  • sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for John Wayne Venison Casserole

Preheat oven to 375° F. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

Spray a 9″ x 13″ oblong baking pan with baking spray. You may also cut this recipe in half and use an 8″ square baking dish, which I have done when making dinner for my husband and me.

 

Prepare the Ingredients

Using a chef’s knife and cutting board, dice the sweet onion.

Mince the garlic.

Shred the sharp cheddar cheese with a box grater.

 

Brown the Meat Mixture

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the ground venison until browned.

Because our ground venison is quite lean, I always use a few tablespoons of oil when I brown the meat. If you’ve opted to use lean ground beef, you may still need a bit of oil for cooking, depending on the fat content in the meat. 

Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the burger and allow to cook for a few minutes until tender.

Stir the taco seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper into the mixture. Add water and continue cooking (and stirring) on medium-low heat until the water has nearly evaporated and the meat mixture has thickened.

 

Prepare the Sour Cream and Tomatoes

Mix Half of the Shredded Cheese with the Sour Cream

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until combined.

Add Green Chiles to the Tomatoes

Using a second bowl, combine the petite diced tomatoes and green chiles. Mix to combine.

 

Assemble the Casserole

Line Bottom of Baking Dish with Hash Browns

Line the prepared oblong baking dish with the thawed Southern Hash Browns.

I have also used tater tots as the base of this dish, which is also very good. Use the ingredients you have on hand. If you don’t have hash browns with the added onions and green peppers, feel free to dice up half of a green pepper and cook it with the ground venison. All will be well. 

Sprinkle the ground venison mixture evenly over the hash browns.

Spoon Tomato Mixture Over the Ground Meat

Next, spoon the tomatoes and green chiles over the meat.

Sprinkle Shredded Cheese over the Top of the Casserole

Follow this by spreading the sour cream mixture over the tomatoes until completely covered. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top.

Allow Baked Casserole to Cool 7 Minutes Before Serving

Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling.

Allow the casserole to cool for 7-10 minutes before serving.

If you are taking this dish to a potluck dinner, simply cover the top of the casserole with aluminum foil and then wrap a large towel around it or place it inside an insulated tote to keep it warm while you travel. 

Serve John Wayne Casserole with Fresh Salad or Mixed Vegetables

This recipe will serve 10-12 people. For a complete meal, serve this casserole with a fresh salad, green vegetables, and sliced bread with butter.

See more Potluck Dinner Ideas Here. Browse Main Dishes Here. View Venison Recipes Here.

 

Featured Image - John Wayne Venison Casserole

John Wayne Venison Casserole

Our family loves John Wayne movies, so when I discovered this dish, adapted from an actual recipe that John Wayne submitted for a cookbook, I had to try it. This John Wayne Venison Casserole is perfect for your next potluck dinner. It always goes over very well.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 12

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground venison (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 cup sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (See my Recipe Here16)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 16 oz frozen southern hash browns ((with onions and peppers) - thawed)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz diced green chiles
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375℉. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" oblong baking pan with baking spray. You may also cut this recipe in half and use an 8" square baking dish, which I have done when making dinner for my husband and me.

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Using a chef's knife and cutting board, dice the sweet onion.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Shred the sharp cheddar cheese with a box grater.

Brown the Meat Mixture

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the ground venison until browned.
  • (Because our ground venison is quite lean, I always use a few tablespoons of oil when I brown the meat. If you've opted to use lean ground beef, you may still need a bit of oil for cooking, depending on the fat content in the meat.)
  • Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the browned meat and allow to cook for a few minutes until tender.
  • Stir the taco seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper into the meat. Add the water to the mixture, and continue cooking on medium-low heat until the water has nearly evaporated and the mixture has thickened.

Prepare the Sour Cream and Tomatoes

  • In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until combined.
  • Using a second bowl, combine the petite diced tomatoes and green chiles. Mix to combine.

Assemble the Casserole

  • Line the prepared oblong baking dish with the thawed Southern Hash Browns.
  • (Either thaw the hash browns at room temperature or place them in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in microwave until thawed.)
  • Sprinkle the ground venison mixture evenly over the hash browns.
  • Next, spoon the tomatoes and green chiles over the meat.
  • Follow this by spreading the sour cream mixture over the tomatoes until completely covered.
  • Last, sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling.
  • Allow the casserole to cool for 7-10 minutes before serving.
  • This recipe will serve 10-12 people.

Notes

*If you are taking this dish to a potluck dinner, simply cover the top of the casserole with aluminum foil and then wrap a large towel around it or place it inside an insulated tote to keep it warm while you travel.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 468mg | Potassium: 454mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 399IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 3mg

 

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Margaret, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this casserole. It’s one of my favorites, too! And perfect for a potluck dinner.