A while back we posted a piece about ostrich meat, and in case you are still hesitant to try it, here’s another recipe incorporating this delicious “red” poultry. Of course, if you don’t have ostrich meat readily available to you, beef would work just as well. Usually chili is a bit too heavy for me, and that is why I enjoy making it with ground ostrich, instead. The texture and taste remain, but there’s certainly a lighter quality about using ostrich. I am also not a huge fan of large quantities of beans in my chili, but that’s just me. If you prefer, you can certainly add more quantity, and variety, of beans to your chili. The heat, or spiciness, is also up to you. I suppose my favorite aspect of chili is that it is one of the few meals which tastes better as left-overs than the day I originally made it. And as a busy mother of two, that’s always a good thing!
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 md. onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. ground ostrich, or ground beef
1/4 c. chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
1 28-oz. can tomatoes in juice (I prefer fire roasted ground tomatoes)
3 c. chicken stock
1-2 c. water, you may want to add more or less while cooking
♦ 1-2 15-oz. kidney beans (black-eyed peas or lentil beans work nicely too)
chopped cilantro & Greek yogurt for garnish
Add oil to a large, heavy pot on medium heat. (If you are planning on using beef, add the meat first and begin to brown prior to adding the onion.) Add onions, garlic, and optionally, jalapeño; allow to cook until onions begin to soften. Add oregano and cumin. Stir in chili powder, salt, and cinnamon, if you choose. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and water. (You need to add enough water to allow the chili to stew on the stove top without becoming too “concentrated.” If you check every 30 minutes, or so, you should be able to see whether or not more water is needed.)
Bring the chili to a low boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting. Allow the chili to slowly bubble (cook), uncovered, for 3 hours. If you don’t have this much time to cook your chili, it is possible to reduce the cooking time to about an hour, however, I will warn you that the flavors really don’t come together in that short amount of time. About 10 minutes prior to the end of cooking, add your ostrich meat. Ostrich cooks extremely quickly, and if you overcook it, the meat becomes too dry and chewy. Remove and discard bay leaves. Optionally you can remove the whole cloves of garlic, but thoroughly enjoy eating them in the chili.
Serve with chopped cilantro and a dollop of Greek yogurt. This dish also pairs nicely with some warm, crusty bread.
♦ If you are using pre-cooked beans, make sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding them to the chili. Alternatively, you could use dried beans. Just be sure to soak them in a few inches of water for 3-4 hours prior to cooking.