Venison and Beef Chili

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More venison? You betcha. Indianapolis folks, if you’re looking for some and you don’t know where to go, call up Goose the Market. I talked with them on Facebook and they said they usually carry ground venison or steaks but it’s worth calling in advance just to check. Or, have a boyfriends’ dad who can get you some himself!

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 enjoy learning about various cooking methods, especially those that were around well before my parents’ parents were born. We’ve always had to eat, so how did we eat before things like electricity were around?

Okay, I’m not going to get into that discussion today. I made this chili in my well-heated home with walls and floors and windows and “luxury appliances,” but at least I get the concept, right?

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 4 cups of crushed tomatoes per 10 pounds of meat, and I think I made the right decision.

This is also my first no-beans chili. Straight up meat, yo. The kind of chili you’d put on a hot dog, but soupier and tastier. So much flavor. It did make quite a lot for John and myself, so I froze two portions that are anxiously awaiting for me to thaw them out and eat them up.

Venison and Beef Chili

Venison and Beef Chili

Adapted and shrinked from Afield

  • 1 1b 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 lof of fan, 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.

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