Recipe Contributed by Field Staff Writer S. West.
I was sitting in my kitchen, watching more snow fall the other day and I realized anew just how much I dislike this time of year. The gluttonous celebrations of Christmas & New Years have passed, in Ontario almost all hunting seasons are closed until late April, I don’t partake of ice fishing, and where I live it is just one constant, dank, snowy wasteland for most of the next 120 days.
So I went down to my freezer and grabbed a big venison hip roast and as I did so the memories of deer season came flooding back. Picturing my fall days afield I stood there thinking of what to do with this chunk of meat. I decided to make a hearty soup to chase away some of the crippling winter blues.
I had to make two minor revisions to this recipe; first off, traditional posole is made with pork which can be pretty bland overall. Since I like the deep meaty flavor of seared venison, and this is Harvesting Nature, that’s what I used; I find it works perfectly with this recipe. Secondly, I know that a true posole (for you purists out there) is made with hominy instead of chickpeas. That said, if you can find hominy in Canada in the wintertime you are a better person than I. I find the chickpeas make a more than adequate (and dare I say, healthier) stand in, though. If you have hominy, just swap the chickpeas out for the same amount of hominy.
Since this is winter comfort food I prefer to eat this accompanied by a full-bodied beer, like an Irish stout or a scotch ale. I like those beers at room temperature, but they are just as fine chilled.
Venison Posole Rojo
- 10-12 dried guajillo chilies
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2lbs venison hip (cubed)
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1 ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Baby spinach
Chili Sauce Preparation:
- Break the stems off the chilies and remove some of the seeds. The more seeds you leave in, the spicier your hot sauce will be.
- Put the chilies in a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak until soft for 30-60 minutes. You are essentially making chili tea.
- Put five cloves of garlic, the re-hydrated chilies and 1 1/2 cups of the reserved “chili tea” in a bowl and blend until smooth.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl.
- The remaining solids still have some heat so I reserve these in the fridge for future use, but you can dispose of them how you like.
- You should have a deep red hot sauce with a good garlic zip in the background. Taste it and season with kosher salt as needed.
The Soup Preparation:
- Rub the venison all over with the cumin and some kosher salt.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat.
- Add the cubed venison to the oil in batches and sear until brown.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and cook until soft. Crush and add the remaining garlic and cook briefly ensuring not to burn it.
- Stir in 1 cup water, the vegetable, oregano, bay leaf, and 1 cup of the chili sauce (or more/less depending on your spice tolerance).
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for an hour.
- Stir in the chickpeas and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are soft and the venison pulls apart with a fork.
- Remove the bay leaf & season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a handful of baby spinach to the bottom of a bowl and ladle the posole over the top to wilt it slightly.
- Add sliced radishes, scallions, roughly chopped cilantro and as much of the remaining chili sauce.