Chili Pizza

Yes, I said venison chili pizza!  I’ll give you two reasons this recipe is delicious.  #1 You can have a bowl of chili with a heaping portion of cornbread the first night.  #2  For leftovers, you can make pizza.

First, let’s start with the “Tex-Mex-Style Venison Chili Recipe” courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and Food Network.

You can always substitute beef for venison, but just remember venison is very lean.

“Tex-Mex-Style Venison Chili”
by Emeril Lagasse

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless venison rump, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I use venison steak)
1/2 pound ground venison, or ground pork (I use 1 lb. ground venison)
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 to 3 large jalapenos, seeded and minced, to taste
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and their juices
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons masa harina
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Grated cheddar cheese, garnish (Longhorn: recommended)
Minced yellow onions, garnish
Cornbread, corn muffins or garlic bread, optional accompaniment

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and Essence, and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Cook, stirring, until the meat is brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, chili powder, pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beer, and stock. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and cooked through, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, dissolve the masa in the water and stir to make a thick paste. Add to the chili and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Ladle into chili bowls. Sprinkle with grated cheese and minced onions. Serve with hot cornbread, muffins or garlic bread, as desired.

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning)

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Pizza Dough
By Joy of Cooking

Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:
1 1⁄3 cups warm (105° to 115°F) water
1 package (2 1⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
Add:
3 1⁄2 to 3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
(1 tablespoon sugar) (I omit)

Mix by hand or on low speed for about 1 minute. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.

I divide the dough in half so I can freeze a portion.  Of the remaining half, I divide the dough into four segments.  Roll out each segment approximately 6” by 6”.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease a large cookie sheet and place four mini pizzas atop.

Venison Chili Pizza
by CowGirl Cook

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
½ recipe venison chili (aforementioned)
Mexican cheese blend

Spread cream cheese equally atop the mini pizzas.  Top each with a helping of venison chili, making sure to evenly spread for baking consistency.  Top with Mexican cheese (amount to your liking).  Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

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