I love spicy foods. Outdoor Guy does not. So in the interest of marital bliss, I’ve learned to tone down how much spice and heat I add to recipes. If Daddy ain’t happy, ain’t no body happy after all! One of the recipes he got me hooked on was this version of a not-so-spicy chili. It is now the only variety of chili I make for our family, because it has great flavor without a lot of heat. I’ve included the official ingredients in the notes so that if you’ve got someone that likes to live on the spicy side, you can accommodate them as well.
Usually a pot of chili will last our family 3 or 4 meals. This one barely fed us twice, thanks in large part to the hungry game warden that dined with us last week. Hunting seasons are starting to open up around here. And that means lots of cold food and meals from a can for our friend Warden Rob. Rob is a game warden, or wildlife resource officer. His job is to enforce Wyoming’s hunting, fishing and wildlife protection laws. Knowing I’d have plenty of chili to go around, we invited the warden to dinner. Wyokiddo enjoyed regaling Warden Rob with stories of her preschool. And I think he appreciated a warm meal. He ate two heaping bowls, so I’m taking that as acceptance. 🙂
So I present to you, the perfect kickoff to fall…
Game Warden Approved Elk Chili
- 1 1/2 pounds ground elk meat (use any ground meat, including beef, but elk is our favorite!)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cans tomato sauce (10 1/2 oz. each)
- 2 cans Italian style stewed tomatoes (15 1/2 oz. each)
- 1 can kidney beans, drained (15 1/2 oz.)
- 1 small can diced green chilies
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 3 tsp. red chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Brown elk, onion, and garlic in skillet. Add other ingredients, cover, and simmer on low for an hour or more. Or add all ingredients and cook on low in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours. Serve with corn bread. Serves 4-6.
- Feel free to substitute any ground meat for the elk in this recipe. I’ve made it with beef, a beef/Italian sausage combo, venison and antelope. But elk is by far our favorite.
- I’ve made this in a slow cooker and on the stove. I’ve found letting it hang out in a slow cooker is the more delicious way to go!
- I skip the saltine crackers and provide Frito corn chips as an add-in instead, along with sour cream, cheddar cheese and extra onions.
- The original recipe was called Rocky Mountain Elk Firehouse Chili, and was the 1989 Arizona State Fair Blue Ribbon Winner. To add the spice back in, add the following in addition to the ingredients listed above:
- 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
- 2 fresh yellow hot peppers, diced
- 2 additional tsp. of red chili powder