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Sunday, February 1, 2015

My Ultimate Umami Venison Chili aka The Best Damn Chilli On Earth!

Alright, alright I know it's a HUGE claim but I honestly have never made a batch this delicious and I've made A LOT of tasty chili over the years. I've recently become obsessed with the term "umami". What is it exactly? What's it made of? And how can I create my own?! Most people, like myself, have heard the word umami but don't have a clue why it's so special. 

Well here's a quick breakdown: Umami is a flavor now considered to be the fifth taste sensation on our palates (the others being salty, sweet, bitter and sour). It's basically an intense savoury flavor with brothy meaty roasted undertones that lingers in the mouth and induces salivation. It's the kind of flavor that keeps you coming back for more, and more....and more! It's created from different combinations of all kinds of ingredients such as anchovy, mushroom, parmesan cheese and rich tomato just to name a few. Some simple examples of an umami combination is the meat, bacon, cheese and tomato ketchup of a cheeseburger or soy sauce mixed with stir fried vegetables. Then there's a more complex way to get your umami on by carefully concocting umami ingredients into a sauce, soup or seasoning. This is where my new venison chili recipe comes into play. 

I made a list of my usual chili ingredients (some of which were already umami conducive) then I added a bunch more umami flavors just to give it a super umami punch and man oh effing worked! It's not a particularly spicy chili because I didn't want spicyness to override the intensity of the umami but there is just enough to get that warming chilli feel. Now, be forewarned there are a stupid amount of ingredients involved to get this chili just right but trust me, it's well worth it and makes a large batch that can be eaten for days or saved in the freezer. 

Also, I used and recommend a slow cooker to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot. 

Serves 8-10

Recipe ingredients:

1 tall can of beer (any kind you prefer)
1 small can tomato paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 bulb black garlic (cloves removed and mashed into a paste)
1 1/2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños, chopped with seeds and white veins removed
2 anchovy fillets, minced
2 bay leaves

1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander 
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
Generous dash of fresh ground black pepper

1 cup pancetta
1 cup cubed chorizo
1 1/2 lbs ground venison (can substitute lean ground beef)
2 bell peppers chopped
1 1/2 onions (yellow and red) chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced

Optional toppings:
Sharp cheddar
Sour cream
Green onion
Fresh cilantro
Chili flakes for added heat if desired. 


Turn slow cooker on high and add first 11 ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the next 10 ingredients to make the chilli spice mixture. Add the chilli spice mixture to the slow cooker and stir well. Now, brown the pancetta and chorizo in a large skillet then add to slow cooker, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Brown the venison in the drippings then add it to the slow cooker, still reserving the drippings in the skillet. Finally, sauté the bell peppers, onions and garlic in the drippings (add oil if needed) till soft then add them to the slow cooker. Stir all ingredients well and let slow cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve on its own or with toppings. Enjoy that umami goodness! 

PJJ xx

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