52 Soups: Week 4: Moroccan-Inspired Venison Chili

I don’t hunt, but I love wild game, and I’m lucky enough to live in a town with a highly functional barter economy, so every year I make a trade with a few of my hunting lady friends. Usually I give them homemade jam but lately the Chokecherry Delight Liqueur I made last summer has been what’s in demand, so I have a nice supply of deer and elk meat in my freezer.

It’s always fun coming up with new ways to use this wonderful stuff, and since I’ve been craving this Moroccan red lentil soup I used to make back before legumes turned out to be bad for me, today I got creative.

I started with a pound of ground elk meat and incorporated elements from the red lentil soup recipe and one I have for a Moroccan chicken pot pie.

Equipment:

  • Your trusty stock pot
  • A wooden spoon
  • A full spice cabinet

Makes six servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of quality cooking fat. I used lard but coconut oil would probably be fine.
  • 1 pound ground game meat. I used elk. You could probably make this with hamburger, too, but then omit the fat above unless you’re stuck with really lean hamburger.
  • 1/2 an onion, diced (you might like a whole onion, but I have to be careful because of inflammation)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste or 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes. I had the former on hand; the original soup recipe called for the latter.*
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup green olives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt the fat in the stock pot at medium to high heat and brown meat, onions and garlic together.

2. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika and cinnamon, stirring well to incorporate. Heat gently until you can smell the spices.

3. Stir in tomato, broth, water and lemon juice and bring to a boil.

4. Add raisins and olives and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer 20 minutes or so to let the flavors combine and the raisins plump up.

5. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Since you’re looking for a balance between sweet and salty, too, you might need to add a bit of something to adjust the sweetness. I wound up stirring in a tablespoon of raw honey before portioning this out, since it was too late to add more golden raisins.

This made for a lovely, hearty meal. If you can have legumes, this might be nice with the addition of some red kidney beans or chick peas, but it’s great the way it is. The golden raisins add a nice touch of sweetness to go with the briny olives and complement the spice blend, and venison is just plain good. I’ll be making this again for sure! Might still need a bit of tweaking though…

Macros: Protein, 27g; net carbs, 18g; fat, 25g.

*The tomato paste is what really made this more of a chili. Next time I make this, I really want to see what it’s like with canned tomatoes instead.

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