We are in the middle of hunting season here in Montana, and our freezer has been filled with a deer, antelope, and elk!
One thing I love about fall and winter is that it also equals hearty stew season! (At least here in Montana where we have cool and even frigid seasons!) The daylight hours are more precious and temperatures are below freezing, making it a perfect time to hunker down in the evenings, have a glass of wine, and make and enjoy some chili.
When I first told Roy that I was going to make us a sweet potato chili with some ground deer meat, I got the crinkled nose look from him. He was skeptical.
As it was simmering on the stove though, he started to become a bit more welcoming to the idea (at least by the aroma). Cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, onions, and garlic all infusing their flavors into the meat, veggies, and broth to create a warming, comforting aroma. Hmmmm….
The aroma was an indicator of what was to come! We made a huge pot. Huge. And it was gone in two days. I only got to enjoy one evening of leftovers! Lesson in this…make a bigger pot next time.
I think it will become a winter staple at our house this winter!
- 1-2 "glugs" of olive oil
- 1.5 pounds ground deer
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 onion (I've used red and white)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1.5 cups black beans
- 1-2 large red peppers diced
- 3 roma tomatoes diced
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch of cloves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 4-5 cups of water (or more if you like your chili a bit more runny)
- Heat your olive oil in a large soup pot.
- Brown the deer meat with your finely chopped garlic and onions. I have a habit of sprinkling a layer of salt and pepper early on in the browning process.
- Add vinegar and spices (chili powder through cloves) after a couple of minutes. The meat really absorbs those flavors.
- Add the red peppers to saute them for a bit, followed by the sweet potatoes.
- Add your water, bay leaves, and stir in the tomato paste.
- Let simmer until sweet potatoes are almost tender, stirring periodically so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
- Add black beans and tomatoes.
- Continue to simmer (and stir) until potatoes are done.
- The longer it sits and the flavors all meld together, the better it will be!
- Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, crackers, or whatever else you want!