Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chili con venison

I once tried Molly Katzen's vegetarian chili recipe. It was good, but I remember thinking how much better it would be if it just had a pound of ground beef, the kind that's a little on the fatty side so to give the dish good flavor. And a sausage or two. And more salt, more cumin, more chili pepper. I also remember thinking how if I put the pot in the fridge overnight, the flavor would stay exactly the same rather than mature the way it would if it had some animal fat in it. I could have made the recipe again and again until I'd acquired a taste for it, maybe even prefering it to chili con carne. But I didn't. Sometimes, for flavor's sake, you just can't pass up on the meat! When I lived in Quebec City for four years, juggling my graduate studies, work, and my personal and social lives, chili was one of my staple dishes. I'd make a big pot of it on a Sunday night and have enough to bring to the university every day for lunch for at least a week. What could be easier and more economical to make than this one pot dish of simple ingredients? Nothing! And because I lived only a short walk away from rue St-Jean's local butchershop, Moisan, I never had to worry about the quality and integrity of the beef I used to make it.

The what: 1 pound ground venison, 1 pepper and a small onion, roughly chopped, a couple cloves of garlic, roughly minced, tomatoes (those are my mom's garden tomatoes), 1 can each of black and red kidney beans, a couple chili peppers, cumin, salt and pepper.

The how : In a dutch oven, cook the meat in hot olive oil with the garlic and spices. When the meat is just brown, remove and store in a bowl. Add a little more oil to the dutch oven and sautee the onions and pepper for about 5 minutes. Put the meat back into the pot, add the tomatoes and drained, rinsed beans. Simmer, covered, for as long as you want. Longer simmer time equals better flavor, but ultimately you'll get the best taste if you put eat it the day after it's been made.

Serve with cornbread, of course. (Stay tuned for my own cornbread recipe to appear at some later date...)

Total prep time: about 15 minutes
Total cook time: The longer the more flavorful, but at least an hour

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