By now, you know I am a very adventurous cook & foodie who is willing to try all types of cuisines and ingredients. But I really love cooking and eating wild game meats as explained in previous posts such as Take a Walk On The Wild Side pt.1 & It’s All In The Game. I have experimented with alligator, rabbit, kangaroo, elk, ostrich, buffalo, antelope, yak, venison, wild boar, Iberico pork, and quite a few wild game birds. Heck, I have even eaten live octopus! Nowadays, these items are starting to become readily available to the general public through online orders or even your local market. More and more I am seeing items like venison, ostrich, and boar meat on store shelves here in NYC. The meats are healthier and leaner compared to the common proteins we normally eat. Also, there are tons of people who are very health conscious these days when they make food choices, so game can be a wonderful alternative to factory-farm raised animals. For me, I just love the products for the taste and the unique ways to prepare them. But just when I thought that I tried most of the game meats available in the U.S.A., a friend of mine on Facebook introduced me to Chef/Author/Food Connoisseur, Anshu Pathak. (Big shout-out & thanks to Chef Mike Zollner!)
Anshu Pathak is the owner of Exotic Meat Market in Perris, California. It’s a business he started in 1969, and he is very passionate about it. Anshu has traveled and cooked his way around the world for the last forty-four years. He has also worked with some of the world’s best chefs and “spice masters”. I know him as a kind and generous man. Anshu’s meat market sells a variety of game meats I have never dreamed of trying, such as alpaca, bear, Nilgai antelope, llama, camel, peacock, gemsbock, Scottish hare, some of the best Waygu beef and, his most controversial item, American lion. We will discuss lion meat at a later date, but it is 100% legal here in the states. Anyway, I immediately became a fan of Exotic Meat Market; and when Anshu visited this blog he had seen that food, cooking, and wild game meat is a huge passion of mine as well. His wife Claudia used one of my recipes, (tikka masala) and they both loved it and decided to award me with a $500 gift certificate to order items of my choice from their market. I was pumped!
But what should I order? There were so many items I wanted to try. I decided to spread it out and order a little of this, and a little of that. Emu, beaver, alpaca, llama, kobe, squab, Nilgai antelope, and gator sirloin are some of the items I received. One of the meats I was excited about trying, was beaver. I watched an episode of “Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimmern” and this cook prepared beaver chili for him and it actually looked tasty. I am pretty good at making chili, so why not use that same formula? Upon receiving my package, I noticed that the beaver meat was dark red in color, finely textured, and had almost no fat, which is typical with most game meats. I did a little more research and learned that beaver meat is strong in flavor and should be balanced out with other strong-flavored ingredients. How can I kick this chili up a notch? In steps Ron Elkins, co-owner of GHOSTPEPPERFARMS.
GHOSTPEPPERFARMS is a father and son owned and operated company located in Dunnellon, Florida. Ron and his son Nathan started pursuing their passion of growing fresh peppers in 2011. They are a growing company that provides a healthy, flavorful, and pure red ghost pepper to their customers. I had no idea what a ghost pepper was until I met Ron. He explained to me that it is the hottest pepper on earth, and when used in moderation, it can enhance food dramatically. I am a “wimp” when it comes to eating very spicy food, but I also believe chili should have a heated “kick” to it. So the father and son team mailed me these beautiful red ghost peppers. He also packaged a sample of the dry pods, which I smelled and began shaking in my boots. But hey, if I can cook and eat a beaver, I can handle the Elkins’ hot ghost peppers. Thank you Ron & Nathan! I decided to do a slow cooked chili recipe in my crock pot and kick it up a notch with a couple of those beautiful Ghosties (and for goodness sakes, please wear GLOVES when handling these peppers). The chili came out great after an 8 hour slow cook! The beaver meat was surprisingly tasty. I really thought it was going to taste very gamey and swampy, but it was unexpectedly beefy tasting, but like a stronger tasting beef (if that makes sense).
Special thanks to Anshu & Claudia Pathak for the continued support and inspiration.
If you want to purchase any of these products:
Exotic Meat Market: Order online@ exoticmeatmarkets.com
“Like” Their page : www.facebook.com/pages/Exotic-Meat-Market-Inc/
Ghost Pepper Farms: Order online@ www.ghostpepperfarms.com/
“Like” Their page: www.facebook.com/ghostpepperfarms
1 pound beaver stew meat, cut into small cubes
1 medium diced onion
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup diced celery
10 cherry tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh ghost peppers, seeded and minced (leave the seeds if you dare, and wear gloves to handle!)
2 cans tomato puree 24 oz.
1 can dark kidney beans or black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans with liquid
2Tbs chili powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat the oil up in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beaver meat with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet and brown all pieces, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add it to the crock-pot along with the onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, kidney beans, cherry tomatoes, and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and minced ghost peppers. Set the slow cooker on low and cook 8-10 hours. Bon Appetit!