Sweet and Salty: Alaskan Moose Chili; Say What?
I never wanted to marry a hunter. In the way of all true Mid-Western girls, I half joke while being half serious when I say, "The movie Bambi? It ruined me!" That, and driving up to see my dad and brother's deer, strung up outside the front of my childhood home, waiting to be butchered each Fall. I'll save you from visions that haunt by NOT sharing pictures. It was all, "No Bueno."
My husband used to be one of those Minnesota trapping boys. Trapping wild game and selling furs. No joke. However, by the time I met him, he hadn't been out hunting in decades and had turned into an Alaskan fisherman. A killer, and eater, of fish I could deal with. A pescatarian lifestyle would suit me just fine.
However, little did I know, a mere 3 years into our marriage we would find ourselves in the state of Wyoming and my fisherman would decide to turn hunter again. What came out of this?
One, the most handsome picture I believe I have of him.
Second, turns out eating Elk steak is AH-MAZING!
However, this article is not about elk (because our freezer is now completely out of that delicacy). Instead, we've got moose. You read that right! We're 5 years into our re-entry into the unknown wilds of Alaska. (Yes, that was a nod to the movie "Frozen II"). Part of that journey, for my husband, has been the desire to bag a moose. He became part of a hunting party that was in need of a 3rd person. A group of elderly men who had one man retire due to health complications. They wanted a "young buck" to mentor and show their hunting spots to in order to leave a legacy for the next generation. Awesome that they chose my husband to share their wisdom with, eh?
My husband didn't shoot the moose; but, did help to break it down and pack it out. Again, I won't share any of the pictures; except, for my favorite of my hubs out in the Alaskan bush.
In theory, I don't like being married to a hunter; except, I find his manliness increases (and as a byproduct, my attraction to him) when he's out doing manly things wearing camouflage. I know, I'm a living, breathing, walking contradiction; and, the easiest person to be married to.
Now, with moose in our freezer, my family has acquired a new taste: Moose meat isn't half bad. In fact, for many an Alaskan, it's downright awesome! Here I am now, passing onto you, my husband's mother's recipe of home-made chili; however, I've added a few tweaks making it mine now too:
What you'll need
2 pounds of Moose burger (or, for you Mid-Westerners, ground beef will do)
2 Sweet Onions
2 Green Peppers
4 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Can of Tomato Sauce (15 ounces)
2 Cans of Dark Red, Kidney Beans
1 Bunch of Green Onions
Sour Cream (Optional)
Shredded Cheese (Optional)
Saltine Crackers (Optional)
How to Make It
Brown the 2 pounds of Moose burger in a "Dutch Oven". While the Moose burger begins to brown you will be chopping up the onions and the green peppers and adding them into the "Dutch Oven" alongside of, and on top of, the Moose meat. Once the Moose burger has thoroughly browned, from a reddish pink to a light brown or tan in color, you're ready to move onto the addition of the other ingredients.
*Note: If using ground beef, you'll need to drain the fat before moving onto the next step.
Add the 4 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes, the 2 Cans of Tomato Sauce, and stir everything together right there within the "Dutch Oven". Then, add 2 Pinches of Sugar, 2 teaspoons of Salt, 2 - 3 Bay Leaves; 2 Dashes of Paprika (more if you're a fan), 2 teaspoons of Pepper, 1 - 2 Whole Cloves.
Lower the heat on your stove-top all the way down to where the above meal is able to sit and simmer. Put a lid on it. Let it sit for 1 to 2 hours. Stir occasionally. (I set a kitchen timer and stir every 20 minutes).
Add the 2 cans of Rinsed and Drained Kidney Beans 20 minutes prior to Serving your meal. Stir them into your chili as you add them.
5 minutes prior to serving your "Sweet and Salty: Alaskan Moose Chili" add in the Bunch of Green Onions. (Chop them up first!) Don't stir them in, just let them sit on top, they add a nice splash of color, crunch, and flavor to the mix.
Serve while piping hot! You may serve with those aforementioned toppings of your choice: Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, and Saltine Crackers or you may leave well enough alone.
*Note: Set out salt and pepper shakers so your family and friends may finish seasoning their bowls of chili based upon their particular taste-buds.
This meal serves 4 adults, over the course of 2 to 3 meals, dependent upon bowl size and how many 2nd helpings are requested.
Turns out, being married to a hunter isn't the end of the world; and, has its benefits. Chiefly among them: Monetary savings on groceries ya'll! And, secondly, adventures in eating. I never thought I'd eat a Moose; but, here I am, eating Moose.
What I've come to learn is this:
May you find enjoyment within each one.