Look! Two recipes in one week! I must be on a roll.
For those of you who may not know, I was once a professional cake decorator. It’s a hobby now (you can find photos of some of the cakes I’ve done here on the blog if you do a search for “cake” and sift through the recipes), and I enjoy doing it – so much so that I’ve recently acquired an airbrush and a very nice caddy for my supplies. Which beats dragging a huge box off the top of the freezer in the garage and digging through it when I need something, let me tell you.
At any rate, the son of our beef farmer is getting married this year and I offered to do the wedding and groom’s cakes. As payment, I received a box of approximately 50 pounds of mule deer and antelope meat after their hunting trip to Wyoming last fall.
I love the barter system.
We’ve slowly been working our way through all of this wonderful game, revisiting some of our favorite venison recipes. The antelope is just wonderful – flavorful and sweet; the mule deer, however, is a bit different from the Ohio whitetail to which we’re accustomed. It definitely has a “gamey” flavor. Not bad, just kind of strong.
There are things you can do to mitigate the strong, “wild” flavor typical of some game meats. One is to soak it, either in milk or a good marinade, for several hours before cooking (coconut milk works fine if you have problems with dairy). Another is to cook it with bold spices and other strong flavors. I did both with this dish, soaking the venison in milk before preparing it in the pressure cooker.
The result was a spicy, complex and deeply flavored chili, without any hint of gaminess, that is simply delicious. The coffee and chocolate were inspired additions which contributed to the rich and complex flavor, but it seemed a bit bitter when I tasted it before locking the lid on the pressure cooker, hence the addition of the honey. You can certainly leave it out if you prefer.
Like most chili and stews, this is even better the next day. Of course, you can use beef in place of the venison if you like.
Note: If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can cook this in a cast iron Dutch oven (either enameled or plain) on the stove. Once all of the ingredients have been added to the pot, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, then cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or so, or until the chili has thickened to the desired consistency.
- 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 2" cubes
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed tallow
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 large jalapeño peppers, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 2 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- Heat the tallow in a 4- to 6-quart pressure cooker over high heat. Sprinkle the venison liberally with salt and pepper and add to the lard; cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is nicely browned.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, peppers and jalapeno. Continue cooking until the onion has softened, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and do a quick release of the pressure.
- Carefully remove the lid from the pressure cooker. Stir; bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chili has thickened to the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 352 calories, 13.3g total fat, 32.2mg cholesterol, 299.9mg sodium, 670.5mg potassium, 22.6g carbohydrates, 4.2g fiber, 12.4g sugar, 37.8g protein