This past week the temperatures around here were wintry and it rained every day. There were reports of a winter storm hitting us, even though we were barely in the embrace of fall. Since Monticello is at 7100 feet above sea level and the Blue Mountains loom over us, the chance of getting 6 to 18 inches of snow was nothing to sneeze at.
Luckily, we survived a light dusting of snow and the temperatures rose somewhat, so planning out hot meals to enjoy while nestled in cozy blankets was still on the agenda. Rooting around in the freezer, I found a one pound package of deer steak that Charlie had given to me. I still needed to prove to myself that I could master this creature and I wanted to see what it would taste like in a typical chili.
I knew I had to get rid of the wild game taste of the meat, so I chose the standby method of letting it marinade overnight in red wine vinegar; this also helped to tenderize the meat. After cooking in the crock pot with all the other ingredients for 8 hours, being served up with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream and honey cornbread...I am proud to say I have mastered venison!
1 lb venison roast or steak, cut into ¼” slices
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 (15.5 oz) can tomatoes with diced chilies (medium heat)
½ cup diced onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup shredded carrot
1 (15 oz) can each red kidney and pinto beans
1 (10.5 oz) can French onion soup
2 Tbsp ground cumin
4 Tbsp ground chile powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp each garlic powder and crushed, dried oregano
Rinse venison in cold water, place in plastic container and drizzle vinegar over meat; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Set a 4 qt crock pot on low; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cut venison into ½ inch pieces; place into pot and layer tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, carrot and beans over meat. Do not drain liquid from beans as this will act as a thickener for the chili.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soup, cocoa, seasonings and herbs; pour over ingredients in crock pot. Cover and let cook for 8 hours.
Makes 6 servings.