Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Veni Vidi Vici--VENISON!

My son, Nathanael, made a successful bow kill this autumn--his first. And he was generous enough to share some of his bounty with us. I have always been hesitant, for some reason, to eat venison. Maybe it's the cute faces of the deer (but then, I do eat the meat from cows with cute little faces; so figure that one out); maybe I think that since deer are wild, the meat will taste gamey or "off" or that it will be tough. Whatever the reason, I always end up trying it anyway. And again and again to my surprise, I love it!
I was excited when Nathanael offered us some of the meat from his kill, and could hardly wait to try cooking it myself. I chose cuts that I thought were most tender and flavorful, like chops, steaks and ground meat. For the chops and steaks, I searched recipes/methods of cooking online, and was pretty successful in reproducing them. By the time I got around to cooking the ground venison, I was brave enough to be a little creative. My Cowboy Venison Chili is the result! And I must say, if you think you do not like venison, you must try this. You would be hard pressed to convince someone it was not beef. And if you like chili at all, please try this. Anyone can do this, and I guarantee you will enjoy it. The meat is tender and tasty without any "off" flavor or wildness.

Nathanael came, he saw, he conquered the animal. But I conquered the fear and the flavor. And it tastes like.............CHILI!
Cowboy Venison Chili

1 1/2 pounds ground venison (you may use any ground meat you like)

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 large onion

2 large cloves garlic, diced

1 can Campbell's Condensed Beefy Mushroom Soup (it is a thicker soup as opposed to a broth--Campbell's preferably, but another brand would suffice)

1 can (about 15 oz) diced tomatoes with juice (I always use Hunts; any flavor is fine--for this recipe I used the basil, garlic and oregano; if you only have plain, season your chili with herbs of your choice while cooking)

1/2 cup water

2 TBS chili powder

2 medium potatoes, cubed

1 can corn, drained

Shredded Cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Put a little olive oil in a large cast iron skillet.
*I much prefer cast iron for browning. You simply will not get the same quality of brownness with non-stick or aluminum. You can't beat it. It gets hot and stays hot. You might be a little skittish or hesitant at first--I certainly was--and need a few trial runs to get the "feel" of cooking in cast iron; but once done, there is no substitute. I feel no kitchen should be without at least one cast iron skillet.
Add the onions, salt and pepper them to taste and cook on medium-high heat about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the ground venison, breaking it apart and adding salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste; cook until the meat is browned. If there is any, pour off the grease. Add the diced garlic and cook a minute more. Add the beefy mushroom soup, the tomatoes, water and chili powder and mix to combine. Add the cubed potatoes. Turn down heat, cover and simmer about 1/2 hour, or until potatoes are tender and the chili thickens a bit. Turn off the heat, mix in the corn, top with shredded cheese and cover until cheese melts. Sprinkle on parsley before serving.
You may serve with sour cream on top if you like, with biscuits, corn bread or hard rolls and a salad.
*This would make an excellent campfire meal. Just brown the meat and onions over the fire, add the remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer. This would be great spooned over corn bread or biscuits. Could not be simpler or less work.
Peace and Good Eating,

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