Shoveling, plowing and keeping the up with the recent gift of over four feet of snow sure works up one’s appetite. What meal can satisfy the hearty desire for hard working snow removers and rekindle their palates? Try chili!
Like many of the world’s great dishes of food, chili inspires poetry, disagreement, and dedication. Essentially peasant food, chili is an American original. Texas based, the original chili is nothing more than a “bowl of red”; meat cooked with hot peppers. With changing tastes and creative cooks, chili has evolved to include onions, garlic, and tomatoes…in short, a rich and hearty stew.
The recipe for Venison Black Bean Chili is an adaptation of a California-style chili. Black beans are simmered with bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and corn. Cooked ground meat is added at the end. The process is much quicker than a traditional chili, where tougher cuts of meat are simmered for hours to tenderize them.
Pureeing a portion of the soup in a blender or food processor thickens it nicely. When adding seasonings, be sure to add slowly and taste as you go. My first batch was a real fire-breather, and not extremely popular in our household. Toppings of sour cream or yogurt and guacamole help to cut the heat.
A pot of chili is a handy start for many meals. Try chili over rice or a baked potato. Chili on burgers, chili pie topped with grated cheddar cheese, chili salad, chili eggs, and pizza with chili. Chili is a most democratic dish; you can take it anywhere and everyone likes chili.
VENISON BLACK BEAN CHILI
- 1 tablespoon fat (bacon olive oil, vegetable oil or lard)
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms about 10
- 2 cups tomato sauce or canned tomatoes
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 6 cups cooked black beans
- 4 cups stock or water
- 1 pound ground meat cooked & drained
- 1 teaspoon Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1– 3 teaspoons hot chili flakes (to taste start slowly!)
- In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the fat and add the chopped onion and garlic cloves. Sauté briefly, then add the chopped mushrooms and bell pepper. Cook until the onion is transparent.
- Add the corn, tomato sauce, black beans, stock or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Remove 2 cups of the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add back to the soup and stir in the cooked, ground meat. Add the seasonings. Taste and season again if needed.