Venison or Turkey and Pinto Bean Chili

Dec 6, 2008 by

This is probably my favorite chili recipe—delicious, different, and easy to make.  I make a double recipe and freeze some for a ready-made meal later.  One advantage of this recipe is that it brings in lesser-used meats, instead of the same old beef all the time. Variety is the spice of eating! If you can’t get venison, turkey is also very good.  Why do we reserve it for Thanksgiving?  It’s actually cheaper than the over-used chicken.

Since my French husband became a hunter—much to his family’s puzzlement—we finally got our hands on some of the white-tail venison so abundant in Texas. He killed five deer last winter and we still have a little of that meat left in the freezer.  My mostly-vegetarian 18-year-old will eat venison because he knows those deer lived not only happily free-range but organically (except for all that deer corn they ate), and didn’t suffer.

This toothsome chili also has an unusual ingredient: a little chocolate, as is used in some Mexican mole sauces. 

1 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium red bell peppers, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs. ground turkey or venison

3 T chili powder

1 ½ t ground cumin

1 ½ t dried oregano / 3t fresh

3 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice

3 C broth

1 oz. semisweet chocolate



Heat oil in a large, heavy pan and add onion, peppers and garlic, Sauté over fairly high heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add meat and sauté until no longer pink, breaking up pieces with a fork, about five minutes. Mix in chili powder, cumin and oregano and stir one minute. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, broth and chocolate. Bring chili to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until it thickens a bit, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.



Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Deliciously Light cookbook.


© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon December 6, 2008 All Rights Reserved



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