Saturday, January 28, 2012

Venison Chili

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
Serves:  4-6

1 pound ground venison
cooking oil
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.

No comments: