Friday, November 4, 2011
My husband killed a deer a couple weekends ago. This is not the actual deer, its just a picture I found on the internet here. The deer looks less alive in the real picture so I'll leave it off! Everyone has a different opinion on hunting. Personally, I approve of getting your own meat in a responsible way. There is something about eating meat from an animal that was killed in the wild and presumably had a nice life prior to becoming dinner that seems infinitely more appealing than eating ammonia-laced quarter pounders from grain-fed McCows. (for the record, I do eat McDonald's hamburgers on road trips, but not without some degree of guilt, that I inevitably forget during my next road trip).
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently decided to only eat meat that he's personally hunted. I think that's awesome. He's now eating chickens, pigs, lobster, and I heard he even hunted a bison on a California ranch. I'm sure that compared to other carnivores in America, he eats less meat and it means a whole lot more.
My latest issue of Garden and Gun magazine has a great story about a boy who accidentally killed a bird, felt the need to do it justice by eating it, and the change that happened within him when he discovered the hunting/eating cycle, death begetting life, etc. I read it out loud in the car to Ted one day, and we just loved the article. It made us die laughing in some parts, and reflective in others. We're obviously not all in a position to go out and kill an animal, but I think there's something to be said about seeking out meat that's been raised, killed and prepared in the right way.
So we now have a freezer stocked with venison: ground venison, breakfast sausage, steaks, and even summer sausage and jerky. All I've used so far is the ground venison, and I made a big pot of chili that we shared with some friends on Halloween before hitting the trick-or-treating trail. The recipe is the same chili recipe I always make with ground beef, so of course you can use that instead if you make the recipe!
1.5 lbs ground venison or ground chuck
2 cans (16 oz) chili beans or pinto beans
3 cans (16 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes
1 small can (about 1/2 cup) diced mild green chiles
1 medium shallot
a quart of beef stock, maybe a little less
3 tablespoons chili powder
Brown the meat in a large stock pot. I use about an 80/20 venison to beef ratio, just because venison is so lean, it needs a little extra fat so it doesn't stick to the pan and it gets more flavor. Even using 20% beef, I didn't have to pour off any grease after it was cooked.
Add a minced shallot and cook with the meat until translucent. Then, just add everything else in whatever order you want, stir, bring to a boil and then reduce to let it simmer for at least 2-3 hours so it can thicken, the flavors can marry, and it can become magical:)
I serve it with shredded cheddar-jack cheese and sour cream, and my husband absolutely can't eat chili without saltine crackers. This chili makes for excellent game-day food, since you can wander into the kitchen all day long and refill your bowl:) It also tastes even better the second day!