Or rather Chili. Aside from roasting large hunks of venison, this is my favorite dish to cook, and the one I’m most proud of.
Now I realize that there’s something about stews that makes rabid traditionalists of us all. From Cassoulet to Goulash to Gumbo, there’s only one right way to make the stew, and it just so happens to be the way the person you’re talking to does it. This is where I’m more open minded than most, I make no claim to authenticity, or even exclusivity. This just happens to be the way I like my chili. You can feel free to disagree; I’m sure whatever heathen idols you worship will take pity on your soul.
This is less a recipe and more of a process. I hardly ever measure my ingredients, and generally pick my peppers based on what looks good at the market. The whole point in my opinion is to build complexity and flavor at every step. For more information on my general stewing procedure, (and an evangelical exposition on good ingredients in general, and the good news of bacon grease in particular) check out my Beef Carbonade recipe Here.
I know many of you are probably used to seeing ground meat in your chili. I use stew meat, it holds up to prolonged cooking much better.
If you don’t happen to have Venison and Antelope on hand, I guess you could use beef.
I like sweet Malty beers with and my chili, Scottish ales, Oktoberfests\Marzens, and dupplebocks all make the list.
About the peppers: Use whatever kind you want, I like a variety in both bell and chili and generally cut them into different sized pieces so I can tell them apart; the hotter the pepper the smaller the piece.
If you’re using really hot peppers, wear gloves and wash your hand 3 or 4 times before touching anything… sensitive.
About the spices: This is a pretty mild mix heat wise, partially because of me not using any hot fresh peppers. My personal experience is that chili powder adds heat to the beginning of the bite, and cayenne adds it towards the end. I like a balanced heat, but since most chili powders are a spice mix rather than just powdered chili, be aware that adding it will add other flavors.
To serve this I make rice and beans to mix in (I skip the beans), top with a boatload of cheese, and sour cream to cut the heat. Oh and corn bread.
1 lb. venison (I like Mule-deer for stew)
1lb Pronghorn Antelope
2-3 Bell peppers
2-3 chili peppers
10-12 fluid oz. beer
1 onion (diced)
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp cayanne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cummin
1/4 tsp ginger
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Molasses
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 spoonful coco powder
Preheat oven to 250
In a large dutch oven, heat fat and brown meat over high heat. You’ll probably need to do several batches, you want plenty of space between the pieces. Also, by brown I mean the kind of brown you want the outside of your steak; you’re looking to create new flavors by taking advantage of the Maillard reaction.
Set meat and any juices aside, add fat if necessary and turn down heat.
Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, add bell peppers saute for a few min. more, add chili peppers and saute for another 2-3 min. Add meat back into pan.
Add beer. You want the beer to come up about 2/3rds of the way to 3/4 of the way up the meat and veggies. If you need more liquid, stock is always better than water; water dilutes flavors, stock adds them.
Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven for 45 min-hour. Remove from oven and taste broth. Stir in spices except for coco powder.
I like to add the heat I want, and then adjust the other spices accordingly. You could make a pretty convincing argument for doing it the other way around. Replace lid, return to oven. I usually cook it for another 2-3 hours, adjusting the spices every 45. min or so, but really it’s done as soon as the meat is cooked and tender, generally an hour later. Once you’re done cooking the chili stir in coco powder.
Let cool and put it in the fridge overnight one-three days.
Reheat, top, and enjoy.