This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

KELLEY: Our son had given us some venison that a friend harvested a couple of months back, and it's been sitting in the freezer. I have hesitated to use it because the last time he brought some back from college, we cooked it and it was very gamey. Didn't like the taste at all.

BARRY: I liked it OK and knew Kelley did not, so getting her to make this dish was kind of a big deal.

KELLEY: My thoughts on using it this time were how to make it not have that taste. I kept going back and forth with a chili or a stew. We are approaching the cooler season and, with all the root vegetables and apples, what better way to use those items along with the meat? What we ended up with was more like a hearty stew but with a taste of chili.

BARRY: "Stili." "Chew." I'll keep working on a name.

KELLEY: There was no gamey taste whatsoever to this dish, and both Barry and I enjoyed more than one bowl of this delicious chili. I think we must have had a bad deer before because this meat was full of flavor. I cooked the chili in the crock pot for six hours, so everything came out very moist and tender. I also cut the vegetables and apple in large chunks and didn't use beans.

BARRY: It was perfect. The meat had a lot of flavor and the texture was just right.

KELLEY: I also incorporated sausage meat for some fat because deer meat is so lean. If you don't have access to venison, beef or pork would work just as well. If you know of anyone who hunts deer, please ask for some of the meat. I still have a tenderloin in the freezer and can't wait to cook that up in the next few weeks.

BARRY: Maybe deer au poivre? Deer sausage? Deer sliders?

some text
Venison given by a friend was used to make delicious chili, although no beans were used and carrots were added, so it's almost a stew as well. Either way, it's wonderful.

Deer Stew/Chili

1 pound spicy pork sausage

2 1/2 pounds deer meat, cut in 2 inch cubes

1 extra-large white onion, chopped

1 extra-large cooking apple, chopped

2 jalapenos, diced

5 assorted sweet peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced

5 carrots chopped

3 canned chipotle with sauce, chopped

1 tablespoon concentrated low sodium beef bouillon

1 bottle of high-gravity dark beer

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup tomato juice

1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons ground arbol chile

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons adobo mix

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook sausage meat in skillet till done and drain off fat, keeping a small portion of grease in which to cook the venison. Place sausage in bottom of crock pot. Add about a teaspoon of sausage fat back into skillet and cook deer meat until seared on all sides. Drain and add to crock pot.

Add remaining ingredients to crock pot, except the carrots. Stir everything together, place lid on and cook on high for 5 hours. Stir about every hour to make sure that all meat is getting liquid. In the last hour, add the carrots and taste for seasoning. Adjust for any spices.

I added a hint more of cinnamon, adobo and pepper at the very last. Let cook another hour. When done, you will have a wonderful broth and chunks of meat and vegetables. We ate our chili with corn muffins.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.