I’ve had some nasty venison in my life. I mean, it tasted exactly like stomach bile. I’ve also had some ridiculously delicious venison, with a deep, woodsy quality that is truly beautiful when paired with coriander, juniper and clove. I’ve learned that the bad venison is often from an animal that wasn’t taken down in the right way. If it doesn’t die instantly, the animal will not only suffer but adrenaline also makes its way through the veins and causes unpleasant flavors to arise in the flesh. If you eat meat and don’t like to hear about this part, then stop eating meat. It’s important to know the origins of your food, especially that which comes from an animal’s ultimate sacrifice. Curious for more about venison? Click here.
I think the choice of spices would also be delicious in a meatball, especially with a creamy butternut squash sauce. But it’s winter and I haven’t posted a chili recipe. So here you go!
the learning curve
- Chili can have a lot of liquid, as long as it’s rich and flavorful. That’s why I use beer instead of water, but you can also use apple cider or stock.
- I only used half the squash pictured below, but feel free to use more.
- You can serve this over rice or with cornbread.
- If you want to make your own chili recipe, go for it! You can use any vegetables and spices you’d like. Try to stick to about 3 spices and 3 add-ins, or the flavors might get muddled.
- 2 C dried kidney beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 t juniper berries
- 2 ancho chilis
- 2 t olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 lb ground venison
- 2 t ground nutmeg
- 1 t coriander
- 1/2 t ground clove
- S + P
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small butternut squash // 1/2 large, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 12 oz beer (I use Goose Island Harvest Ale)
- Shredded cheddar cheese to top
- Shredded aged pecorino cheese to top
- red onion or scallions to top
- 4 qt pot
- 6 qt pot
Add kidney beans to the pot and cover with 3 inches of water, about the height of your index finger. Add the chili and juniper berries. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 2 hours. Scrape chilis and juniper berries from the top and discard. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the bean water.
While the beans are cooking, add the olive oil to the pot and heat over medium low. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Toss the seasonings together in a bowl. Add to the meat with the garlic.
Add venison to onions and sauté until meat is browning. Once no pink remains, add the squash, potato, tomatoes, beer, and bean water. Cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Then, stir every 10 minutes until liquid is incorporated.