Saturday, January 28, 2012
You know you're a real, official Blogger when your fans start giving you gifts. Okay, so I probably only have one fan, but she did give me a pretty exciting gift: two beautiful pounds of ground venison. Since the only hunting I ever do is for lost keys and my husband's glasses, you would be right in guessing that I have never eaten venison, much less cooked with it. Thus my excitement--it's not every day that I get to work with such exotic ingredients. On the other hand, I didn't want to ruin the meat with my inexperience, so I decided to stick with the classics and make a nice, meaty pot of chili.
I wasn't disappointed. Working with the venison was pretty much like cooking ground beef, but it was leaner and had a deeper, richer taste. It didn't have a strong gamey flavor, though--just a subtle earthiness. I tried to shorten the cooking time by condensing some of the steps, but I think you really have to be patient and follow the recipe to make sure the liquids thicken properly. There's lots of down time, so I was able to make some cornbread and steamed broccoli while I was waiting--it took about an hour and 15 minutes in all.
Venison Chili (slightly modified from this recipe)
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1 pound ground venison
1 cup chopped onion (regular or sweet)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 small)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 3/4 cup chicken broth (or one 14-oz. can)
1 T. tomato paste
1 (15-oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or use two cans if you like)
Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle with about 1 tsp. cooking oil. Add venison; cook 5-7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon; keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno to pot; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. (Add a little water if mixture starts sticking to pan.) Stir in chili powder and next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Add venison, tomatoes, broth, and tomato paste, stirring until well combined; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add kidney beans; cook, uncovered, 15 minutes.