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#2TNCooks: Cozy Elk Chili

#2TNCooks: Cozy Elk Chili

Last year my dad went on a successful elk hunt in New Mexico with his friends. Elk happens to be one of my favorite proteins, so I was beyond thrilled when Chris and I were able to take home a bunch of elk over Christmas since we were driving back to Texas. Our freezer has since been stocked and whipping up this chili was one of our first dinners back at home. Perfect for a cozy Sunday night or throwing together during a busy work week. I actually love the way the flavors develop after it sits a day or two in the fridge, so heating up for leftovers is always a home run as well!

Enjoy this with a selection of fun chili toppings like tortilla strips, chopped green onion, Mexican cheese, jalapeños, sour cream and hot sauce.


1.5-2 lbs. of elk meat (or any lean dark protein such as beef, bison, venison, etc.)

Extra virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, diced or chopped

1 white or yellow onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 serrano chili (plus extra for garnish), finely sliced

1 can (24 oz.) of San Marzano peeled or whole tomatoes

1/2 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp Mexican oregano (if you can’t find Mexican oregano, Italian oregano should work just fine!)

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

Brine from jar of jalapeños (aka the jalapeño “juice”!)

Cayenne to taste


Grease a skillet with non-stick spray or a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and brown the elk in a pan. (It’s important to brown the elk separately from the veggies and the spices so it doesn’t overcook and become too tough since it’s already so lean.) Once it’s browned, remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate stock pot over low-medium heat, add another few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the onion is translucent. Continually stir to avoid burning the garlic.

Then add the kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, serrano and spices. Turn the stovetop burner to a medium heat and bring ingredients to a quick boil and then set on low to simmer.

While it begins to simmer, add the elk meat to the pot and add the jalapeño brine to taste. Continue to stir to incorporate all of the flavors.

Let simmer for 12-20 minutes until flavors are well-blended.

Meanwhile, assemble chili “accessories” such as tortilla strip and salsa to top off the chili once it’s finished.

Ladle into low bowls and top with all the fun condiments that you want! (This is the best part)

And enjoy :)

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