Counting Blessings

Living in the country, enjoying the great outdoors, and feasting on a traditional venison chili recipe are among life's many joys.

chili

A bowl of homemade chili is ready to serve.

Photo by Fotolia/Peteers

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Late July and early August are the dog days of summer, so I’d call late January and early February the mule days of winter. It’s a stretch of short daylight hours, being nearly dark by the time I get home from the office. On a daily basis, my concerns are making sure the chickens have thawed water, and my wife and I have enough firewood to get us through winter. In my opinion, this time of year may be the most dogged.

But, as the calendar turns to a new year and we come through the holidays, it’s a great time to reflect on the people we love and the things we’re grateful for.

For me, I’m fortunate to have a passion for the outdoors and a love of living in the country, and I’m lucky to get to work on magazines that relate to life out where the pavement ends. I get to work on stories about things like farm knives, country kitchen remodels, winter livestock care, and building better garden soil.

I’m also grateful to have venison in the freezer after a successful whitetail season. Here is one of my favorite wintertime venison recipes. I hope you enjoy it.

Regan Southern Venison Chili

• 2 pounds ground venison
• 1⁄4 cup olive oil or lard
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 large green pepper, chopped
• 3 to 4 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, minced
• 3 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 31⁄2 cups whole tomatoes
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 3⁄4 cup water
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 2 beef bouillon cubes
• 1 cup kidney beans, optional

In a nonstick skillet, brown venison in oil. Add onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeños. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, salt, and pepper. When chili starts to simmer, add beef bouillon cubes. Simmer for 11⁄2 hours.

Add kidney beans just before serving, if desired.

What about you? Any favorite recipes you’d like to share? Or things you’re especially grateful for this winter season? Send me a note, with a photograph, if you have it.

Until next time,

Caleb Regan