It’s already chili weather, and instead of the same old recipe, try something a little more earthy this year. Venison creates a heartier flavor and can really kick your chili up a few notches.
I was originally prompted to make this chili after checking out the hunter-gatherer cookbook Afield at the library. WARNING: This cookbook is NOT for vegetarians or those who are squeamish to photos of animals being butchered.
Afield shows you how to live off of the wild, in a culinary-unique way. I enjoyed learning about various cooking methods, especially those that were around well before my parents’ parents were born.
This chili had very little gamey flavor to it. I think that’s owed to the amount of spices, the fact that it’s cut with fatty beef and that it cooks low and slow to break down the toughness of the venison.
The original recipe used venison stock for liquid, which I substituted with tomato juice. I was unsure of how this could taste like a traditional tomato chili with only four cups of crushed tomatoes per 10 pounds of meat, and I think I made the right decision.
This is also a no-beans chili – the kind of chili you’d put on a hot dog, but soupier and tastier. So much flavor. It did make quite a lot, so I froze two portions that are anxiously awaiting for me to thaw them out and eat them up.
Venison and Beef Chili
Adapted from Afield
- 1 lb ground venison
- 1 lb ground beef, preferably 73% or less
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- About 1 32oz can of tomato juice, give or take
In a large dutch oven, heat the venison and ground beef over medium high. If it seems like you have a lot of fat, spoon some of it off, but make sure you leave at least 2-3 tablespoons in the dutch oven. You want that flavor, trust me.
Add the onion and spices and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and as much juice as it takes to get the consistency of chili you’re looking for. I used about 3/4 of the can now, and then added the rest of the juice after the chili had condensed a bit.
Lower the heat, cover and let cook for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. The venison and beef will break down into small pieces and it will soak up the flavor of the tomatoes and spices so don’t skip out on cooking this low and slow.
Taste for seasonings; adjust with salt, pepper and more chili powder if you need to bump up the heat.
Sara Croft is a food adventurer with a passion for creating and a hunger for culinary inspiration. Her recipes have been featured on The Huffington Post's Taste section and Tastespotting.com. You can find out more on Sara, her recipes and her food adventures on her site, SolidGoldEats.com.
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