Cooking with JoJo: Please pass the deer chili, dear...

Joey Morasse • Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 10:00 PM

When it is that season, deer season that is, and you live in the country as I do, you never hear a shortage of the sound of distant thunder coming from either a muzzle loader or a deer rifle. 

A few days into it, I rely on a good friend of mine who never disappoints in getting me good quality venison. While I make roasts, smoked back strap and jerky, one of my favorites is to take the tougher cuts and put them in the food processor to make mince for venison chili. 

For any hunter, the meals made from these trophies are a celebration of the hunt. This chili recipe, made with dark beer is one that will satisfy that hungry hunter in all of us. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 2 pounds of venison – use the tougher cuts as we will cook them down after processing.

• 1 large white onion, roughly chopped.

• 1 bottle of your favorite dark beer. I prefer a dark stout.

• 2-3 cans of red beans.

• 2 cans of diced tomatoes.

• 2 tsp. chili powder.

• 1 tsp. ground cumin.

• ½ tsp. cayenne, optional.

• 1 Tsp. salt.

• 1 Tsp. pepper.

• 1 can of chicken stock.

• 3 tsp. ground masa – corn tortilla mix, for thickening and depth of flavor.

In a large pot, add the onion, tomatoes, beans, chicken stock, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and bring to a simmer while you prepare the meat. 

In your food processor, add your venison, along with the salt and pepper. Processing the salt and pepper with the meat will aid in breaking down the tissues, as well as help to draw out any water, which could thin out the chili more than is needed. Pulse the processor while occasionally checking the texture of the meat while scraping down the sides to get everything ground properly. The texture can be as ground beef, or it can be more of a rough chop, depending on your preference. 

Once done, set the meat aside and allow the salt and pepper to take out any more moisture. At this time, check your chili base. If it is too thin, add the masa 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the thickness you want. I find three will do the trick. 

Add in the meat mixture and the dark beer. Cover and let it simmer for an hour. After an hour, the chili should start to thicken even more, and the beer flavor will not be as dominant, although, I quite like the flavor. 

If the chili is too thin for you, simply add a little more masa or simmer with the lid off to allow for evaporation. 

To serve, top with sharp cheddar and optional sliced hot peppers and sour cream.Enjoy.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.


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