The pickle man

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow day comfort food? Venison chili

Today it is snowing in north Louisiana.  Or sleeting, or freezing raining, or whatever - my son is ecstatic and I'm wanting something yummy and warm to eat.
My son and his cousin, sledding down the levee.  Notice that there is no snow and very little ice in this picture, but we still had a "Snow Day."

 Why is it that so many comfort foods (chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese) leave me feeling guilty, not comforted?  Normally I'd cope by running but I don't run in the sleet.

So instead, I'm going to get some of the venison out of the freezer.

My brother is quite the hunter.

This is one of seven frozen portions of deer meat in my freezer currently (well, actually most of this one is now in my tummy, but you get the point).
And so the inside of my freezer is usually full of deer meat, which is a good problem to have, especially when it is cold and you want comfort food that doesn't make you feel guilty.  You can definitely make this with hamburger meat, too :)
red beans soaking!  

For each pound of meat, you will need
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 lb of dried red beans, soaked overnight OR 2 cans red beans (my favorite brand is Van Camp's New Orleans Style red kidney beans, but they are kind of hard to find).
2 cloves garlic (I cheat and use 2 tsp minced, jarred garlic)
1 can diced or chopped tomatoes
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper

2 Tablespoons chili powder (use less if you don't like it spicy)
Kosher salt to taste (but don't add the salt until the end, or else it will make your beans tough).
Water to cover (you will need a lot more water if you are using dried beans instead of canned).

Saute the onion, bell pepper, and celery in 1 Tbs vegetable oil until clear and soft.

  Add the garlic.  Add the ground meat and brown.
If you are using beef, you will need to drain the fat.  Venison is much leaner, so no draining is needed - which is definitely good, since I have been known to pour half the meat down the sink with the grease... still working on my draining skills.

   Add the beans and tomatoes.  Add water to cover.  Add the seasonings, except salt (see note above).  Cook 1-2 hours (depending on canned or dried beans - canned cooks quicker, but dried tastes better) or longer, adding more water as needed. 
Serve with cheese, saltines, sour cream, or whatever you fancy.   

This picture is 100% posed.  My son told me he was finished eating and I realized that I hadn't photographed the chili, so I begged him to take another bite.  This was as close as I got.  

Note: I usually triple this recipe and freeze it.

The baby was more than willing to eat a bite of chili, but I didn't give it to him. Yes, I watched Mr. Mom in the 80s.  I will never feed a baby chili.


  1. We had venison chili last night too. It was good. I didn't cook it, but now I know how, which is a good thing, seeing as my freezer overfloweth now too.

  2. Nice to know about the salt making the beans tough. Never heard that before.

  3. I suggested to my roomies that we use some of the venison that I brought back to SC from home in our chili today, but they vetoed the idea. These city girls still aren't comfortable with wild game, even though it is my favorite to use! I think I might just have to sneak it in without them knowing the first time. :)