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Big Game Recipes
Elk Chili With Roasted Peppers
Number Served: 12-16

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
4 lbs Elk or venison roast
2 teaspoons salt
8 slices bacon
1 medium onion, minced
5 jalapeno chili peppers, cored, seeded & minced
1 cup canned, crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoon juice from 1 medium lime
5 tablespoons masa harina or corn starch
Ground black pepper

Directions:

Trim excess fat from Elk or venison roast and cut into I inch cubes.  Toss venison cubes with salt and set aside.
Toast cumin seeds in dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant (4 minutes) and grind.
Mix chili powders, cumin, & oregano in small bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste.
Fry bacon until crisp (about 10 min), remove bacon, pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl, set aside.
Increase heat to med-high, saute meat until well-browned, best done in small batches, on all sides. Add additional bacon fat as necessary.
Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons bacon fat to empty pan. Saute onion until softened (about 5 minutes).
Add minced jalapeno and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add chili paste and saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
Add bacon, browned venison and crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and 7 cups water.
Bring to simmer. Cover then cook at steady simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hrs.  If you like beans in your chili, add them at this point and bring back to temperature.
Mix masa harina with 2/3 cup water in small bowl to form smooth paste. Increase heat to medium Stir in masa paste and simmer until thickened about 10 min.
Adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper.
This is very good served with avocado chunks on top.

Notes & Variations:

This recipe is greatly enhanced by taking the time to roast and grind the peppers.
Use 3 medium Ancho chili pods and 3 medium New Mexico chili pods instead of using the chili powder. Toast whole dried chilies by placing them on a baking sheet in 350 oven. As soon as fragrant and puffed, they are ready (about 5 or 6 minutes).  Cool, stem and seed. Tear pods into pieces and put in spice grinder.  For best results, use the bowl and chopper attachment on a Stick Whip to grind the peppers.  Cumin seeds grind best using a coffee mill grinder.

If making this in a Dutch oven, frying and sauteing steps are best done over a camp stove or other constant and controllable heat source.  Simmering is readily done using a charcoal heat source, or use the campfire coals and bury the Dutch oven (dinner will be ready when you return to camp).  Start out at about 350 degrees F (9 coals down, 15 coals up) and then adjust heat to a gentle simmer.  The longer the simmer, the better the flavor and texture.  Left-over's, if there are any, are wonderful or even better, just cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Contributor: Dave Myers, RRGC