Back in Pennsyl-tucky – as I like to refer to my home state when I'm referring to its redneck ways – hunting is a way of life. My grandpa had a hunting camp deep in the woods where I learned to shoot a BB gun (at a tin can). It was considered an excusable absence from school for boys to go deer hunting with the men folk. And those who had antlers hanging above their mantle usually didn't buy them at Anthropologie.
Naturally, as a self-righteous teen, I found hunting to be horrifically barbaric. This was even before I decided (in my early 20's) that being vegetarian must be the ethical thing to do. Certainly, it made more sense to buy (factory-raised) meat products at a store than go out and kill Bambi's dad.
These days, as someone who values honorable sources for my food, I see the tradition of hunting in a different, more favorable light. I'm not sure I will ever do much more than fishing myself – I'd rather make delicious meals with the bounty – but I appreciate that when done properly and respectfully, hunting is quite possibly the most conscious way to be a carnivore.
Which brings me to the real point of this post – a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to the elk, the hunter, and his beautiful new wife that made this meal possible. My new friends Leslie and Hjalmar were so generous in giving us a few packages of meat at their recent wedding celebration.
A Rocky Mountain Elk was Hjalmar's prize from his recent hunt in the Colorado Flat Top Wilderness. He had set out with a single guide, a couple of horses, and bow and arrows, and returned with enough food to feed a family for a year.
It doesn't get much more field-to-table than this, and I knew the perfect recipe to showcase this honored gift – my favorite magical chili.
If you don't have elk meat from a recent hunt, you'll enjoy this recipe nearly as much with grass-fed beef from your farmer. Either way, this chili is not only magically delicious, but the disguised organ meat packs a nutrient-dense punch that is wonderful for healthy teeth and bones, fertility, and growing kids, just to name a few.
Serve it with optional grass-fed sour cream or cheese, and definitely with a side of this sprouted corn bread.
Magical chili ingredients
- 2 pounds ground grass-fed beef (or elk as the case may be)
- 1 pound beef/elk heart and or liver
- 2 T. butter, lard or tallow
- 2 large yellow or white onions
- 1 T. sea salt, plus more to taste to taste
- 3 sweet peppers (bell or Italian, any color)
- 1/2 pound mushrooms
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 T. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 – 28 oz. BPA-free cans of diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste – get my favorite tomato paste here
- 1 quarts beef or chicken stock
Magical chili method
- The night before, remove meat from the freezer and defrost in a sink or bowl of cool water.
- Chop onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Mince garlic.
- In a large stockpot, sauté onions in fat and 1 T. sea salt. Add garlic, herbs and spices. When onions are translucent, add peppers and mushrooms.
- If the liver and/or heart are whole, run through a food processor with an s-blade until ground.
- Add ground meat and organs.
- Brown the meat over medium heat while breaking up finely with a wooden spoon.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Allow to simmer for several hours to combine the flavors, and adjust seasoning to your preference. Serve topped with a sprinkle of grass-fed cheese or sour cream.