Moose Chili and Beans

by Millie Bentley

Greetings. Here is a nice dish to warm your innards. I looked around for some really good wild game recipes and found one that’s pretty easy as well as delicious. It has some South-of-the-Border flavors. However, “chili” has been Americanized to the point where most people think of it as a down-home dish.

Anyway, here’s a recipe using moose or caribou that’s really delicious. Plus it’s really good leftover, so make up a big batch and freeze part of it or refrigerate it and serve again in two or three days.

MOOSE CHILI AND BEANS

2 pounds pinto beans

2 teaspoons salt

9 tablespoons bacon fat, divided

3 pounds moose meat, cut into bite sized cubes

3 tablespoons flour

8 tablespoons chili powder

6 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion, diced

3 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce (plain)

3 cloves garlic, sliced

4 large jalapeno peppers, diced or 1 tablespoon crushed dried red chilies

1 large can (29 oz.) crushed tomatoes in their own juice

Pick over beans, removing any small rocks, twigs or clumps of dirt. Wash well, cover with water by 3 inches and soak overnight. If one doesn’t have time or hasn’t planned the night before, place beans in a very large pot and cover with 3 inches of water; bring to a boil for about a minute; remove from heat; cover and let sit for one hour. After the hour, add 2 teaspoons salt and simmer beans until tender, about 11⁄2 or 2 hours. (Some folks don’t add salt, but I think it’s better to cook a little salt into the beans.) Check the beans to make sure they have at least an inch of water covering them at all times.

Meanwhile mix together flour, chili powder, cumin and 1 teaspoon salt in a very large bowl. Add cubed moose meat and stir around with hands to cover all sides of the meat. Heat some bacon fat in a large skillet and sauté moose meat, one layer at a time (do not overfill the skillet) until lightly browned. Add more bacon fat to skillet as needed. As each batch is fried, add to bean pot (which has now been simmering for at least 11⁄2 hours).

After all the moose is browned, add a little more bacon fat to the skillet and dump in any flour-chili powder mixture remaining in the bowl. Cook and stir this about 5 minutes (DO NOT BURN) and then add onions and tomato sauce. Cook and stir until the onions are limp; stir in garlic and jalapenos and add to bean pot along with the large can of crushed tomatoes. Simmer about another half hour, covered, until everything tastes good. Cornbread, milk and raw onions are really good with this chili. Yummm!!! P.S. Any other game meat, pork loin, or chuck steak may be substituted for moose.

Until next week, dear Reader, vaya con Dios.

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