Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mama Hynek's Game Chili

It's that time of year again.  Hubby and FIL have been on their annual water fowl hunt and I now have fresh goose and duck in the freezer.  I did something a little different this year; I put part of these birds through the meat grinder and divided them into 1 pound packages.  So now I have 5 pounds of ground goose and 5 pounds of ground duck in the freezer in addition to 2 whole geese and 7 mostly whole mallards. 

In the past, I have always put the meat through the grinder on an as needed basis, which is a bit of a hassle if you have to let it thaw first.  It was not as convenient to use said water fowl meat as a substitute in recipes that call for ground beef.  Wait!  Before roll your eyes and make that 'yuck' face, let me assure you that it tastes just fine and the consistency/texture in the recipe is no different.  Goose and duck meat are a fatty dark meat with a nice robust flavor that works well in recipes like lasagna, spaghetti, and chili.  I even took some of the goose and made them into hamburger patties last week.  They tasted great to Hubby and I and the kids ate them without comment.   

I will make one comment with regard to ducks - their flavor varies greatly with species or perhaps the diets of said species.  Mud hens taste like mud and I don't recommend them.  Mallards, on the other hand, are quite yummy and I highly recommend them.

At the beginning of each hunting season, I rummage around in the deep freeze to locate those packages of frozen game meat that always seems to fall the the back bottom corner, hidden under the frozen veggies, where time and freezer burn would eventually make them inedible if I didn't do such periodic rummaging.  I managed to dig out the remaining 3 pounds of goose meat from last year which I wanted to use up before we added the newly harvested water fowl to the freezer. 

The best way to use up three pounds of meat that I know of is to make chili.  So I ground up what was left of last year's goose and got out my huge stock pot (not merely large but huge!).  I don't normally follow a recipe when I make chili but in the interest of refining my process, I wrote down what I did this time.  If you're interested, here it is. 

I warn you in advance this makes a lot of chili!  I always freeze the majority of it in 1 quart containers so I can pull them out as needed.  This batch made enough to feed a family of four for two suppers and freeze 7 quarts. 

Mama Hynek's Game Chili

3 lbs ground goose, duck, or venison (or some combination thereof)
4 tbs olive oil
1 16-oz bag pinto beans
1 16-oz bag black beans
1 16-oz bag kidney beans
10 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped
4 6-oz cans tomato paste
4 4-oz cans diced green chilies
1/2 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs cumin
6 tbs chili powder
1 tbs Morton's Nature's Seasons Blend (this is a salt, pepper, etc. spice blend)
1 tbs oregano

Soak beans overnight in water with 3 tbs of baking soda dissolved in it.  Rinse well and repeat for two more nights. Pour out the soak water.  (Believe me you don't want to cook with it.  Just as FYI - most people soak their beans for one night but I have found that soaking for three nights with baking soda does a much better job of reducing gas issues.)

In huge stock pot, put olive oil in the bottom.  Add ground game meat and brown it completely.  Add onion.  Add soaked beans and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Add tomato paste, green chilies, and spices. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Serve over rice and garnish with cheddar cheese, if desired.

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