Ground Venison Rice Hotdish

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and like many people all around the country I will be travelling to a relatives house and spending the day with family eating many old favorites and a few new ones. Everyone has those family favorites that they brag about and tell all their friends about. Like my grandmas creamed onions, one of my favorite things to eat at Thanksgiving dinner. My brothers new wife is going to be making the stuffing and I am looking forward to trying her version. I am bringing the green bean casserole and something new this year a Brussels sprout Gratin. I am also bringing a maple pecan pie that might not make it to dinner intact.
The holiday season always makes me happy and I love all the foods that my family puts together. When I got married my sister put together a book of family recipes for my wife and I. With the holidays coming up I pulled it out and went through it to see if there were any recipes that I would like to try. I came across my grandmothers rice hotdish and for some reason felt compelled to give it a try.
I should tell you  that when it comes to hotdish I am not its biggest fan. I know that it is not very Minnesotan of me but I hate tater-tot hotdish. I don't hate the taste and I will eat it, what I hate is the way people rave about tater-tot hotdish like it is some sort of culinary masterpiece. I have eaten many different versions of it and I have heard so many people rave about their version and how it is so awesome.  I don't have anything against hotdishes in principal they do serve a purpose. If you make them ahead of time and use them as a time saver they serve a purpose. They can be tasty and they can spark fond memories of grandmothers but I have yet to have a hotdish that has left me craving hotdish.

This rice hotdish is one of those meals, when I was growing up my father would rave about it and it was actually referred to as dad's hotdish. My grandmother would make it and my mom would make it and even as a child I was never really that into it. To me the celery was overpowering and the soy sauce made it taste burnt and bitter. So when I saw it in the recipe book I felt compelled to give it try and see if I could make it at least taste decent.
I followed my grandmothers recipe for the most part, the only things I change were I used ground venison instead of beef, I also used 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce and replaced the can of cream of celery with a can of cream of chicken. My version was better, it didn't have that bitter, burnt flavor I remember. My wife and kids both ate it, but it still didn't inspire me that much. It was passable and I could very easily see making it ahead of time and keeping it in the freezer for one of those nights where you just don't have time to put together dinner. I certainly won't be raving about my hotdish any time soon and If I ever do use the word hotdish and awesome in the same sentence, smack me.