venison

Grandpa’s Home Canned Venison Chili Sauce, made from the garden.

When trying to live closer to the land many families turn to hunting, fishing and home gardens. In our families case we do all three, letting nothing that comes our way go to wast. Canning venison chili Sauce is a great way to use up extra produce in the garden and take a little of last years deer burger and make it into an on the go meal for those cold winter months still to come. This Labor Day weekend my family made about 13 quarts of this chili starter in about 6 hours. Each quart of sauce when added to one large can of kidney beans will make 5 to 6 servings of home-made goodness.

We started with only one problem, my tomato plants blighted this year. I have only one remaining tomato plant and we had to buy the two quarts of juice this recipe calls for. In better years I have made tomato juice and added some Tabasco sauce for the bite we love in our chili. So instead this year we bought two bottles of V-8 ( one hot and one regular) to fill the needed juice in this recipe.

I used the current Ball “Blue Book, Guide to Preserving” as our guide for processing times and head space for  making our meat sauce base. Any ground meat including venison should be processed for 1 hour and 15 minutes with chili needing a 1 inch head space. We then used grandpa’s recipe for the broth portion of the chili and added the recommended 5 pounds of ground venison. This resulted in 6 quarts of what my family knows as  Grandpa’s venison chili and it is a family favorite.

My kitchen smelled soooo good for most of the day because of the  fresh ingredients from my garden like hot peppers and garlic.

Cody,Jamie and I cooking and canning

Cody,Jamie and I cooking and canning

So for Grandpa’s Venison Chili

1 large yellow onion

2 teaspoons chopped or pressed garlic

1 cup sweet pepper diced

1/2 cup hot peppers ( we used banana peppers).Up this amount to 1 cup if you use plain tomato juice

3  cups tomato paste or 4 small cans.

2 quarts of tomato juice, or in this case 2 quarts v-8 juice one hot and one plain

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

black pepper to taste

5 pounds ground venison

2 table spoons vegetable oil

this makes 6 to 6 1/2 quarts of canned chili.

Some of the many peppers I have growing in the garden

Some of the many peppers I have growing in the garden

In a large 8 quart stock pot add oil, onions and garlic. Saute’ until onions are beginning to soften and add ground venison. Brown all 5 pounds over mid heat with onion and garlic. Once the meat is cook add juice and all remaining ingredients. Simmer for about ten minutes string often to prevent sticking and making sure all the ingredients mix thoroughly.  Bring chili to a boil and ladle into clean, sterile, quart mason jars leaving 1 inch of head space. After cleaning any spills off top lip of jar, top with clean sterile lids and rings that are just tightened. Place in pressure canner with simmering water ( amounts vary)  and add lid and begin to process after ten minutes of steam has escaped the canner. Process jars for 1 hour 15 minutes at ten pounds pressure. Remove hot jars from canner and set in a clean dry place to cool and you should hear the ping of the lids as they seal. Eat any chili in unsealed jars with in a few days and store inside the refrigerator. The remaining jars that have sealed should be used within a year of processing and stored in a place that stays above freezing.

Home canned Venison chili with canner

Home Canned Venison Chili with Canner

Now all I need is a crisp cool day to enjoy this home-made chili. Happy Canning!

 

Categories: canning, country cooking, deer hunting, gardening, Hunting, Tomatoes, Venison, venison | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time Saving Home Canned Chili Sauce with Beef or Venison

I am sure all of us have had times when you get home from a long day and really don’t want to cook. I have many days that I just don’t plan ahead enough and it is 5 and I still have no idea what we are going to eat and everyone is hungry. This is my back up plan, it is a home-made tomato sauce that we use as a chili base and saves me from making the chili base from scratch every time. No looking to see if I have all the ingredients. No reason to worry over long cooking times.So when cool weather sets in and chili sounds like the perfect meal to put together in a slow cooker or a quick last-minute dinner this is the way our family makes chili. I also love that it uses a large amount of our garden tomatoes every year.

6 quarts of finished chili sauce

6 quarts of finished chili sauce

The idea to can a chili base came from my father in law and his disliked of making a pasta sauce that needed hours to cook down. This idea is so much faster and easier than making large amounts of pasta sauce. It also tastes great and a 1/2 bushel of tomatoes ( about 25 pounds or about 80 to 90 plum tomatoes ) makes about 6 quarts from one patch of sauce. I usually make 18 quarts every year. The other thing that is wonderful about this is it is a non-pressure recipe, it is made in a boiling water bath canner. As long as you stay with the ratio of 25 pounds tomatoes to one cup of onion and 2 1/2 cups peppers you will not  lower the acid levels of the tomatoes. In our sauce we use a mixture of hot and sweet peppers and you can adjust the heat to your families liking. In our case we use 2 cups sweet peppers to 1/2 cup hot peppers or around 4 banana or other large hot peppers. This mixture adds flavor but not much heat.If you like it hot reduce the sweet peppers to 1 cup and raise the hot peppers to 1 1/2 cups and feel the burn, do what ever sounds good to you.

The hardest part of canning any kind of tomato is the necessary step of blanching the tomatoes. This is the process of removing the skins so that you do not have chucks of skin floating around in the sauce. I have tried to grind the tomatoes and leave the skins on and it is just better to remove them if you do not like the taste or though texture of skins floating on the top of you chili.

To blanch Tomatoes I use a 8 quart stock pot of simmering hot water and a sink full of cold water. The colder the better, adding ice if you have a good ice maker is great. Into about 5 quarts of simmering water I place about 20 plum or any tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minuets then plunge them into the ice-cold water with a strainer.

simmering tomatoes for blanching

simmering tomatoes for blanching

The trick is to make sure before you remove the tomatoes from the water that you see the skin of one or all the tomatoes either tear away or start to wrinkle before the plunge. If you get that step right the skins almost fall off in the ice water and pealing is a snap. I core the tomatoes before blanching it makes the skins slide off faster as the water is able to get under the skin of the tomato. I have friends that do it after blanching because they do not want any extra water entering the tomato before cooking…( this is a very important to pasta sauce makers not so much for me). After pealing the tomatoes I have another stock pot ready to place the tomatoes into and blanch more as I place peeled tomatoes into a larger pot.

This photo shows what you start cooking with.

 

25 pounds of pealed tomatoes

25 pounds of peeled tomatoes

You will next cook the tomatoes and juice down and run through a food mill before adding any spices or other vegetables.

Here is the recipe for  cooking the chili sauce in our families traditional way.

Chili Sauce

1/2 bushel fresh tomatoes

2 cups sweet peppers

1/2 cup hot peppers ( we use yellow Banana peppers)

1 cup onion

2 teaspoons chopped garlic or about 5 cloves mashed

1/2 cup sugar

4 Table spoons chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 small cans tomato paste

2 table spoons mustard seed

1 bay leaf crumbled

5 whole clove heads all bundled together in a cheese cloth sack or in a tea strainer

this mixture usually makes 6 quarts of fresh sauce

Cook freshly peeled tomatoes for about 15 minutes to break them down into a watery broth. When most of the meat of the tomato has cooked down but you still have a few stringy portions and lots of seeds floating on top run hot tomatoes through a food mill, ricer or sieve to remove seeds and any tough tissues. Place back over med heat and add peppers, onions, garlic chili powder, salt and pepper. Add the spice bag or tea ball and simmer 15 more minutes. At the end of the cooking time remove tea ball and  add two cans tomato paste and stir until well blended. Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving a 1/2 inch head space, wiping lip and covering with sterilized lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath 20 minutes..

 

fresh tomatoes being pressed through a foodmill

fresh tomatoes being pressed through a Foodmill

Chop hot peppers with some kind of gloves they will burn skin and eyes is not careful

Chop hot peppers with some kind of gloves they will burn skin and eyes if not careful

hot peppers, sweet peppers, onions

hot peppers, sweet peppers, onions

 

 

final stage of chili sauce simmering away

final stage of chili sauce simmering away

When ready to make chili all that you need is one pound of ground meat. We use venison or beef or both mixed together browned and two cans or about 4 cups beans. We like to mix up our beans so I have used light kidney, dark kidney, pinto, cranberry beans, use what you have on hand. Brown the meat drain off any excess fat, pour in one quart jar of chili sauce and add 4 cups of your favorite beans and simmer a few minutes and you have dinner in about 10 minutes. The best part of all is this if all goes well in our garden the only thing that we did not grow ourselves is the tomato paste. Farm fresh goodness all winter long and a quick family meal that should make about 4 servings.

Categories: canning, Chili, country cooking, Tomatoes, venison | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Americans are wasteful even at the Farmers Market

Today was another eye-opening experience at the farmers market. I am lucky to live in a community where we have at least 4 farmers markets within about a 12 mile area. I live in a small town of a zip code population of about 4,000 people and the neighboring town may have a zip code population that is double that. So together we may have about 12,000 with 4 farmers markets. We live in an agriculturally diverse area and many families also grow large gardens to can or freeze their own healthy foods. So farm fresh food is not hard to find here but today I learned that we as Americans are still looking at food in a non-realistic, non-healthy way.

Cody, Christopher and Paige Powers picking tomatoes and peppers in the garden

Cody, Christopher and Paige Powers picking tomatoes and peppers in the garden

I am getting ready to put up about 7 quarts of home-made spaghetti sauce and spent the morning talking to an older woman who worked the farm market stand. We of course talked about what I was making and what was real fresh and what they were short on. So after several minutes she headed out to the cooler to box up my order, as I bagged up the rest of my items. When she returned and I payed for 23 pounds of tomatoes and 5 pounds of peppers. She asked me if I might be  interested in the of tomatoes sitting on the counter. The box was about 5 pounds of over ripe, soft or damaged tomatoes. She said “no one wants these, they are not perfect. If you take them they are free.” Well of course I wanted them, why wouldn’t I, an over ripe tomato is the best tomato of all. I went on to explain that they looked pretty good to me and that I would just juice them when I got home. She felt better and I was over joyed to have another 5 pounds of tomatoes to take home.

Harvest Basket in the garden 2014

Harvest Basket in the garden 2014

Then on my way home it hit me. Why in the world would she say that unless she had thrown out many items from their stand. Tossed away food that was totally edible but not PERFECT. Why in this day and age would some one throw away food that could feed a needy family or a homeless person? Why are Americans so trained to think that a blemish is not normal or common? I felt offended at the thought that we are so wasteful. That we are not able to think about real food in an honest way. Fresh from the garden food is not perfect if you are realistic. It is only a farmer who sprays his crops with pesticides that never gets bug damage. It is only the tomato that is half-ripe and processed with chlorine that looks red but is hard and perfect looking at the Big  Box Store. It is only on a store shelf where food color is added  to tomato juice to make it red. Why are we eating like this?

As I drove, I got madder and madder. I thought about the millions of children who only see their food on the shelf at Fred Myers, King Supers or the Piggly Wiggly.  They will never see  green beans and peas growing on a vine or carrots are dug up from underground. Some will never know that their french fries are under that bushy plant and are dug up before being fried to a crispy treat. We are raising food ignorant children. We are raising people who have no real idea what fresh from the garden food looks like or tastes like. What a shame that our country has the most money and is the most disconnected from our food.

So when I got home I washed the box full of  blemished tomatoes. I cut away a few spots and pulled out a stem or two and did this.

free tomatoes ready to be made into juice

free tomatoes ready for juicing

I juiced the tomatoes and made about 1 gallon of fresh juice that my family can make into chili, a soup stock, a V-8 drink  or a marinade for a tough deer stake. I am sure I will freeze some as soon as I get a couple of freezer containers. I will use most of it fresh with in a couple of days. I am thinking that a deer roast with peppers, onions, tomatoes in the slow cooker sounds good. I am proud that I have used what others would have thrown out. I have saved my family money with free food and I have saved my child from eating processed food once again.

1 gallon fresh tomato juice  for free.

1 gallon fresh tomato juice for free.

When will American’s learn to look at food and its usefulness in less wasteful way? Was my grandmother crazy when she said,” Waste Not, Want Not.” I hope that slowly I am teaching my children that food does not need to look perfect to taste wonderful. That we can still use a deformed carrot in stew and make jam out of over ripe fruit. That we are able to live closer to the land because we understand that nothing in this life is perfect, but what God provides for us is perfectly made for our use. Amen!

Categories: Chili, cooking, country cooking, family health, gardening, health, Homestead, organic foods, regional food, soup, steak with peppers, Tomatoes, Uncategorized, venison | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

West Virginia regional food favorite “Oliverio Italian Style Peppers”.

I love eating fresh home cooked food and I love even more being able to cook with things that are products of West Virginia. I am sure that all of you have the same feeling about food items from your home towns or places that you have traveled to over the years. Some times you just can not find a good replacement for a locally grown and packaged regional food and that is how most north Central West Virginia feels about these peppers. The peppers are one of my families favorite cooking staples. They are a wonderful mixture of traditional green and red bell peppers cooked in a wonderful tomato and olive oil sauce. The peppers come in several verities from the Sweet Peppers to Red Hot.

Oliverio Peppers

Oliverio Peppers

Oliverio peppers are manufactured only few minutes from my town in Clarksburg, West Virginia. They can be bought at major chain grocery stores all around the mid-Atlantic area including Washington DC and areas like Cincinnati Ohio. They were the creation of Antoinette Oliverio in 1930 and the family did not release these fine peppers to the public until 1972. Then only on a small-scale to local shops. When the pepper took off the family expanded their business to include pizza and pasta sauces, and peppers in vinegar sauces. You can take a look at the their website here at Oliverio Italian Peppers

So with summer heat beating down on us( today is 92 and 80%) it is my favorite time of year to cook with the peppers. Almost any one you talk to in my home town has a favorite way to use the peppers. Today I am going to share just a couple of ideas with all of you and them let your taste buds do the rest.

First is my personal favorite and  my oldest sons also… Venison Steak with Oliverio Peppers.

I wish I had thought to photograph the last time I made this very easy and rather inexpensive way to  make deer steak that  falls off the fork tender.  Really I am not sure this even counts for cooking but it is so good.

Place 4  med thick deer steaks into a slow cooker with one jar of sweet or med hot Oliverio Peppers with 1/3 cup water. Cook sauce and steaks on med setting of slow cooker for 6 hours. Then steaks are moist tender from all the tomato sauce that is bubbling up around them. I serve the steak with a side of pasta or rice and end up eating it all mixed together on my plate. We make this often when I know I will be getting home late in the evening.

The other a Giovanni sandwich. A staple sandwich at almost any Mom and Pop restaurant in my area. This sandwich is really simple to make and we have made it may times at home. You need a loaf of  Texas toast, a hamburger or sausage patty, a slice of american cheese and a jar of Oliverio’s peppers. The resulting sandwich is  a little like a pizza burger but with a little more spicy bite if you use the hotter of the peppers.

 

The

Giovanni sandwich with out peppers, bread, hamburger patty, american cheese.

Giovanni sandwich with out peppers, bread, hamburger patty, american cheese.

Then what a great sandwich looks like with the red and green peppers.. A little on the hot side but so wonderful.

Giovanni Sandwich with med hot peppers

The uses are endless and I just wanted to share an idea with you. If you are not from my area but like the ideas above and you do home canning why not try to make a something like this from your home garden. If you are looking for a way to use up extra tomatoes or peppers this is one that is worth trying for.

Categories: cooking, gardening, Oliverio Peppers, regional food, steak with peppers, Uncategorized, Venison, venison, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hill Billy Venison Hot Dog Chili.

In West Virginia there are two staple foods, 1st is the Pepperoni Roll  with a close 2nd being the Hot Dog. Some will say T&L style is the best but I am sure that the Custard Stand would argue both serve wonderful chili dogs with all the fixens. Yet I took what was best about both companies hot dogs and made them better for anyone who eats venison. Below is a photo of the traditional way to eat a West Virginia Slaw Dog. Yes, to any one who is wondering, you eat cole slaw on top of the hot dog chili in West Virginia and it is a wonderful combo.

anatomy of a west virginia dog

We are not going to change the line up of the Slaw Dog we are just going to Change the ingredients in the chili. I prefer the home-made venison version because it is a little more on the spicy side.  This is the final version of what we love to make and eat with a large group in the summer time with fresh roasted wieners.

Hilly Billy Venison Hot Dog or Venison Slaw dog

Hilly Billy Venison Hot Dog or Venison Slaw dog

The idea and basic recipe for my chili actually came from Elkins West Virginia through Toms Dad more than 25 years ago. I worked on the idea with venison and came up with this.

Hilly Billy Venison Hot Dog Chili.

2 pounds ground Venison

1/2 cup yellow onion

1 1/2 cups ketchup

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1  1/2  Tablespoons chili power

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Hot sauce to taste  I usually add about one or two teaspoons.

3/4 cup water

Ground venison with onions and water

Ground venison with onions and water

1. Chop one half of onion and 3/4 cup water add to ground venison in large skillet. Cooking the meat is a small amount of water keeps the meat for forming large chucks that would make the chili lumpy it also thins the Ketchup some to making the chili have a more traditional hot dog style texture. If you choice to use hamburger in this recipe either use the best burger you can afford or be prepared to see fat floating on the water later in cooking. Cook this mixture over med heat until meat is smooth and brown.

2. Add ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper,chili powder, garlic salt and cloves. Simmer the mixture and blend everything together until a smooth texture is achived.The resulting mixture should look much like this. Cloves added to chili darken the chili and add a spicy sweetness to the salty richness of the venison and I highly recommend trying it.

Venison hot dog chili

Venison hot dog chili

3. Taste the chili and add a little hot sauce at a time to get the desired heat you want from the chili. Red pepper flakes could substitute for hot sauce but they seem to add more heat than flavor.

4. Simmer mixture for about 15 minutes.

5. Serve chili with home-made cole slaw that is on the sweet side. We make ours fresh with cabbage, and a simple dressing made from Miracle Whip, white vinegar, and white sugar. About 1/4 head of cabbage to 1/2 cup miracle whip, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, to 1/4 cup white sugar. We like ours on the creamy side and on the sweet side.

6. Warm hot dog buns and simmer wieners. We split the wieners in half to allow for more chili in the bun add fresh finely chopped onions and a squirt of yellow mustard and eat.

This recipe makes enough chili for ten chili dogs with half wieners you maybe able to get a few more if you use a regular size wieners.

hot dog assembly line minus the chili

hot dog assembly line minus the chili

Coming from Colorado I had never eaten a hot dog with cole slaw before or for that matter I did not really like slaw. It was a pleasant surprise when I tried my first slaw on a pork BBQ sandwich and even better on the chili dog. I think the reason why it is so good together is the salty richness of the chili mixed with the sweet creaminess of the slaw. In my version I get added flavor from the venison against the spices and you have a sweet, salty, spicy,combo.

Categories: Chili, cooking, country cooking, Venison, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Venison Barley Soup the Other Red Meat

    I find it very interesting when I hear the statement, “I don’t like venison, it has a funny taste to it”. In response I usually say, “Then you have never had much venison or wild game”. I am notorious for feeding venison to people who don’t like it and changing their minds. Very often the dislike of game meat is a mental thing not a taste thing. So when a person does not know they are eating venison they give you an honest reply to your preparation of the food. This is one of my favorite recipes that does not taste like anything other than beef and is a great way to introduce the idea of eating wild game.

  Most deer is prepared the same as beef if the cook is aware that there is less fat content in any wild game so it is rather dry( unless we are talking bear) and needs a moist heat to keep it tender and flavor full. Soups and Stews are fast easy ways to enjoy the meat and not battle its natural low-fat qualities.

Venison Barley soup

Venison Barley soup

    By this photo can you tell this is venison? I am sure that most people are unable to tell the difference. The aroma is also beefy, due to the use of beef stock or broth, so you maybe the only person even notices the difference. 

Venison Barley Soup 

1.  1# Pound venison stake in small cubes

2.  5 Cups of water/ 1 cup added with barley

3.  4 Bouillon cubes beef flavor

4.  2/3 cup Quick Barley

5.  1 teaspoon salt

6.  1 bay leaf

7.  Pepper to taste

8.  1 Cup Carrots diced

9.  1 Cup onion diced 

10.  1 Can petite diced tomatoes 

11. 1 Cup frozen peas 

12. 2 tablespoons cooking oil

    I made this last week while the snow was flying and the house was cold. We usually serve it with fresh made corn muffins or hot rolls with lots of butter.

  So to start with brown the deer steak cubes in the oil, I use canola oil. I used left over tenderloin for this batch of soup but any cut will do.

browning of deer steak

browning of deer steak

  While this is cooking over a lower heat I get my 4 cups water and bouillon cubes put together to soften them.

this photo shows 4 cups of water and 4 boulion cubes. I add one more cup at the addition of the barley

this photo shows 4 cups of water and 4 bouillon cubes. I add one more cup at the addition of the barley

    After the meat is nicely browned I add 1 cup carrots and 1 cup onion and soften them for a couple of minutes in the broth that forms from the venison.

carrots, onion, and venison

carrots, onion, and venison

  Then it is time to add the broth, Bay leaf, canned tomatoes, salt and peper.Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes before adding Barley or frozen peas.

soup before adding peas and barley

soup before adding peas and barley

   After the 3o minutes of simmering add 2/3 cup QUICK BARLEY not the regular barley. If you are unable to find the quick barley you need to add it to the soup earlier in the simmering process and allow another 15 to twenty minutes to the cook time. I also add one more cup of water at this point in thin the soup a little. If you would rather have it as a stew then omit this cup of water. I also add the frozen peas and allow to simmer on low heat covered for about ten minutes following the quick barley directions on box,  checking for thickness as time passes.Quick baley does continue to thicken your soup even after removed from the stove so beware.

Venison Barley Soup simmering on stove

Venison Barley Soup simmering on stove

  If the soup appears thick enough then remove bay leaf and serve. This recipe feeds about  5.  If  you are lucky and don’t have a 22-year-old son who will eat you out of house and home then maybe 6 average size portions. Cooking time is about 40 minutes.

  Cooking this on a cold winter afternoon warmed that inter house. I serve the soup with warm cornbread and a lite salad and home canned peaches making this a very country heart healthy meal. Enjoy!

Categories: cooking, country cooking, deer, soup, Venison, venison | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

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