Thursday, December 30, 2010 Bambi Chili
Approximately 21 years ago I was scarred for life when my boyfriend at the time slipped some venison onto my plate without my knowledge. One chew and I knew I'd been duped. I spit the contents of my mouth onto my plate and vowed to never again eat any meat that wasn't identified up front.
Growing up I'd eaten all sorts of wild game. My father had a friend who liked to hunt, so every year for the holidays we'd go up to "the Hungarians" and eat what he'd shot. His house was adorned with the heads of dead animals. I remember a moose head in the dining room that I'd love to pet, as if it would come back to life if I was just nice to it.
But by the time I was 17 I wanted nothing to do with eating dead wildlife. So, when you-know-who did the old switch-a-roo, any appreciation my taste buds had built up for the flavor of wild game instantly turned to seething anger. And never since have I tried to eat Bambi.
My friend Evan, whom I affectionately call my third husband, was kind enough to bring me some venison and I was brave enough to put it in chili. If I added enough spices and cooked it long enough, I thought I could eradicate any flavor of guilt. Guilt because I love animals, more than most people. But when you stand back and look at our food system, going out and killing a deer to eat it is probably the most humane choice out there.
So here goes.
Roast venison in an oven covered in bacon. Cover the venison with the bacon, not the oven. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for a day. The venison, not the oven.
Take out the bacon covered venison and chop it into small pieces.
In a large sauce pan empty three cans of beans (odd numbers for luck. I used white, black and pink beans) and a large can of tomato sauce (plus some water to get it all out of the can.) Spice as you wish (I used two kinds of paprika, three kinds of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne) and cook with the meat on a low heat with the cover on until the meat is falling apart. Thicken with a handful or two of raw barley.
Bambi is gooooood :)