Can you believe we just celebrated the last long weekend of summer? I hope yours was filled with all kinds of wonderful memories. Guess what? It is officially my favorite time of year. We are starting to feel a whisper of cool fall air roll in and it is wonderful.Â Pretty soon markets will be full of pumpkins, sweet potatoes,Â and other great autumn produce. We will all tuck inside a little more and crave warmer foods. Chili, stews, and casseroles start to replace summer salads and typical “picnic” foods.
When we were recently in Telluride, I prepared us a giant batch of this elk chili. If you have never tried elk, be prepared for a treat. It is a wonderful lean red meat somewhere in between the flavor of ground beef and bison. It does not disappoint and it warms the soul with satisfaction and great amounts of energy.
Marla Meridith is the creator, photographer, stylist and go to gal behind the blog Family Fresh Cooking. She believes in real, whole foods for a happy, healthy, high energy life. She is obsessed with her family, food, skiing big tall mountains, travel and coffee. Look for her on Twitter and Facebook too.
1 large Sweet Potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
a few dashes of ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine Sea Salt
1 lb ground Elk, (you can also use chopped meat or bison)
1 Leek, cut into small pieces
1 Zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 cloves chopped Garlic
26 oz strained or chopped canned Tomatoes
1 cup Vegetable Broth
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
a handful of fresh chopped Cilantro leaves
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425F with the rack in the middle. Toss sweet potato with a few dashes of cinnamon, sea salt and a splash of olive oil until they glisten slightly. Place the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake about 30-35 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Toss once during baking.
2. In a large sauce pan add leeks, zucchini, garlic and a splash of olive oil. Soften and slightly brown over medium high heat for a few minutes. Brown elk in the same pan with the mixture for about 5 minutes, breaking up any large pieces with the side of a spoon.
3. Add tomatoes, broth, chili powder, cumin,1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and lemon juice to the pan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Add sweet potatoes. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Add fresh cilantro at the end.
Serve with grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream or thick greek yogurt. Garnish with more fresh cilantro.