Thursday, October 21, 2010
Apples, Pumpkins and Venison, oh my!
Apple-Venison Chili and Pumpkin Bars with Almond-Graham Crust
I have fallen hard for hard cider this year. After having Furthermore's Fallen Apple on tap at the Malt House, it has become one of my favorites. I have never been a big cider fan, but am enjoying it this year as an alternative to white wine. Drummer Man bought me a bottle of organic hard cider recently (dare I tell you that he told me he bought it for me because it is cheaper than wine?!--he better not admit that on my birthday!) At any rate, I couldn't finish the whole bottle, and not wanting to waste it, was inspired to pour some into a pot of chili I was making.
The chili itself was inspired by a beautiful pack of Four Corners Gold beans that Betsy sent me from Native Seeds /SEARCH. I used to work there, and their mission stays dear to my heart: Preserving Native American heirloom seeds in the Southwest. These beans are so beautiful, mottled like a pinto horse. They retain their coloration even after cooking, and pair beautifully with a bit of onion, tomatoes and venison in a big stew pot.
What is dinner without dessert? I had a few pie pumpkins left over from my last CSA box (don't even remind me how badly I fell off the write-every-week-about-my-CSA bandwagon. Oh well. I was too busy cooking.) Anyway, this pie pumpkin called to me. So I baked it, scooped it, mixed it with some yummy ingredients, poured it over a crumbly, buttery crust, and baked some bars.
I LOVE fall, and was very happy to finally have an weather-related excuse to make soup and bake.
I can't wait to try more recipes with hard cider, but will enjoy sipping a nice, lovely glass of wine while I cook, too. (hint, hint)
½ pound beans (four corners golden), soaked and boiled until soft
1 lb ground venison (or meat of your choice)
1 large can diced tomatoes.
ancho chili powder (1 tbsp)
cinnamon (½ tsp)
chili powder (to taste)
unsweetened dark chocolate powder or bar (1-2 tsp)
1 tsp oregano
salt to taste
2 cans water (tomato can)
½ cup hard apple cider
Soak bean overnight, or do a quick soak by bringing to a boil in water, then turn off stove and let the beans soak for an hour.
Rinse the soaking water, then boil bean in fresh water til soft, about 2 hours.
Saute onion in a large soup pot in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat and saute until brown.
Add chili powders, cinnamon and cocoa powder and saute a couple more minutes.
Add tomatoes, cider and water and simmer for an hour or so, partially covered, until it's yummy.
Salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 350.
1 cup ground graham crackers
½ cup ground almonds
1 tsp sugar
½ cup butter, softened
Okay this is approximate. Basically pulse the crackers, nuts in processor until you have the quantity you need. Add in butter and spices, pulse again.
Press into 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 about 5 minutes.
Scoop and clean pumpkin halves. Turn cut side down onto oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 til soft.
Scoop out about 1.5 cups of pumpkin—or use canned:)
mix with 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup each sugar, brown sugar
pinch or more of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp masa harina (not corn meal!)
Mix pumpkin with all other ingredients until blended well.
Pour over pre-baked crust.
Bake at 350 about 30 minutes until filling is set.