Before I met Mountain Man, I had never eaten venison.
Not to my knowledge, anyway. Once we got married, we always tried to choose healthy meats: ground turkey, lean ground beef…however, when we moved into our house, 6 years ago, one of my husbands co-workers gave us some venison. I knew nothing about cooking deer meat, so I started by just cooking it like other ground meats, and adding it into our spaghetti, or taco salads. The first time I tasted it, I was hooked. It was so tender and juicy and it just melted in your mouth.
I have several friends who say they do not care for venison due to it being a little “gamey”. I can see that, in some cases. When prepared properly, however, the gamey-ness is gone (or at least mostly undetectable), and all you’re left with is deliciousness. The good news? Ground venison is very easy to use as a replacement to any other ground meat you may use, in most meals. In fact, I use venison in our meals about once a week. We tend to keep a deer in the freezer throughout the year, and have found that 2 deer will last us almost an entire year.
In NC, it’s actually illegal to buy and sell deer meat of any kind. Surprisingly, Mountain Man, as much as he loves to hunt, doesn’t hunt deer (yet). Thankfully, the same friend who gave us our first taste of deer meat, hunts them regularly. And since his wife hates deer meat and refuses to cook it, WE get the deer! It’s a win-win, really. Friend hunts deer for sport, friend’s wife doesn’t want it in the house, it comes to our house. Well, he brings it to the butcher first, then it comes to our house.
At $50 a pop to process the deer, we do pretty good to get 85% of the meat we will eat for the year, for only $100!
But why Venison?
We like venison, not only because of the taste and how inexpensive it is, but also for its many health benefits. For one, it’s an excellent source of Iron (3.1g), as well as Vitamin Bm which is good to help speed up your fat burning metabolism.
Here’s a handy little chart, that I found interesting…and so should you. It shows the difference in Venison vs. other popular meats. What a difference! I really had no idea how much of a difference there was until I started researching it. And this blew. my. mind. Maybe you already knew this information, and I’m just late getting on the bus. Either way, if you’ve never tried Deer meat before, maybe this will give you the push to try it now.
Ok then… back to the chili recipe. Sorry about that, I tend to get sidetracked quite often. I’m like a toddler in that regard. It annoys Mountain Man. I call it endearing.
What you’ll need:
But let’s be real…it’s really okay if you prefer to sub a different type of meat, or even leave the meat out all together (see, I got love for my vegetarians out there). Buuuuut, since we our household is carnivorous, we add meat. And since this is something that at least one of my kids will eat, I want to pack as much protein and nutrients in as I can. So Deer meat it is!
Then you’ll want to grab some veggies.
We like to add frozen corn, and green bell pepper to ours. You want to know why I choose green? You’re going to laugh. Literally the only reason I choose green bell peppers is because of the color. When I forget to add it in, I just think it looks so…blah and boring. So if you’d rather have red or even yellow bell peppers, have at it! You’re most likely not as neurotic as I am. And if you are, then we should probably be best friends.
After that, the rest is just tomato sauces, spices, an onion, and voila! You have got yourself a “kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck, fantastic” meal, that you can be proud to serve anyone who may stop by for dinner! (and if you got THAT reference, then we should definitely be best friends)
- 1 lb. cooked ground venison (or other ground meat)
- 1 cup diced onion (red or white will work)
- 1 bell pepper (any color of your choosing - I like green)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- One 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
- One 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- One 6 oz. can tomato paste
- One 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin (or for my essential oil lovers, I use 1 drop Cumin essential oil)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or up it to 1/4 tsp if you want a little kick)
- In a medium sauteé pan, add about 1-2 tbls olive oil and heat to medium. Add in onion and bell pepper and cook until they start to become soft.
- Place in the slow cooker.
- Place cooked ground Venison in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add all other items to the crockpot and give it a good stir, to combine all of the ingredients. If your mixture appears a little too thick, fill the 15 oz. tomato can with water and add until you get the consistency you desire.
- Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
- Serve with cheese, sour cream, or any other yummy topping you prefer. Enjoy!