Friday, March 2, 2012

V is for: Venison Chili {guest post}

Home sweet home.

Arizona was great, but it sure is good to be back in San Francisco...and in my kitchen again! How I've missed cooking. One last guest post, courtesy of Devon. Lots of back story behind this one...I'll let her explain!
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When Jaymee first asked about guest blogging while she was at Spring Training I immediately jumped on board. And when she said "V" week, the first thing that popped into my mind was venison. Not because I have ever worked with it before, but because we both work in sports and several athletes fill their off season time with hunting. I thought it would be fitting to cook some up while Jaymee was down at Spring Training covering baseball!
Thanks to our good friend Spence for helping facilitate us getting the venison. (Because, once I got the idea in my head, I actually wanted venison that one of the guys shot themselves). Unfortunately, trying to get a hold of them in the off season is TOUGH! There are a few specialty butchers who carry it in San Francisco, but it is pricey.

And special thanks to Jake Peavy for sharing the meat with us. Although it was a little challenging getting through security at the Phoenix airport with 3 packages of frozen venison, it was worth it! I will say this…there is something really gratifying about cooking something that one of your friends shot/caught/etc. You know exactly where it came from and it made me feel a little bit country. (And yes, this is coming from the city girl that went to Berkeley and has never fired a gun!)

I received a lot of advice about cooking venison, but the most useful tip came from Will Clark when he was playing at the Pebble Beach Shootout between the 49ers and Giants. (By the way, you should have seen his eyes light up when he saw a huge buck cross the fairway. Mike Krukow had to remind him they were at a golf course, not hunting). He told me, “If you make good chili, you can make good venison chili. And make it spicy!”




I started by dicing up 4 pieces of thick cut apple wood smoked bacon. I’m a huge fan of bacon, and I think it’s worth splurging on the nice stuff (especially when the venison was free!) Once the bacon is browned, remove bacon from pan but leave grease. Now brown the venison meat. I added a little bit of my smoke chili salt from Eat Well Farms. (SO good!) Remove the venison meat and set aside leaving the juices in the pan. (At this point I had to fight off my husband as he kept sneaking tastes of the venison meat. I couldn’t really blame him though, it was that good!)
I then added the diced onions and the roasted jalapeño and pasilla pepper. I was going to just sauté them but on my way home I talked with my mom and she was roasting peppers and said how good her house smelled so I had to do it too! If you need to know how to roast peppers, Jaymee teaches you here.


Once the onions are soft, add the red wine and tomato paste, stir, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add all the dry spices, diced tomatoes, and beef stock. Season with more chili salt and pepper and let simmer. You want to let simmer for about 45 minutes so that the sauce can thicken and develop flavor.  When it is the right texture, add the venison and bacon back in and cook until heated through (about 4 or 5 minutes). Add grated jack cheese (and sour cream if you want!) and ENJOY!


Venison Chili
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse 

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: saute entree low-carb gluten-free venison bacon jalapeno

Ingredients
  • 4 strips bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 ground venison meat
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pasilla pepper, roasted and diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, roasted and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sonoma Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and transfer to paper-lined plate to drain. Add the venison to the hot oil in the pan and cook. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until tender. Stir in the wine and the tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the dry spices, chopped tomatoes and the beef stock. Season with salt (I used smoke chili salt) and pepper.
  3. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until the sauce is very thick and flavorful. Add the venison to the pot and cook, stirring, until just cooked through and hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the grated cheese and sour cream.
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