Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. The next day place on the stove and cook at a low simmer until tender, about 1 ½ hours. Add the salt and allow to cool in the broth. Reserve.
In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, oregano and cumin. Set aside. Season the venison meat with salt and cracked black pepper. Add the oil and sear venison meat in large heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat until lightly brown in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove venison from the pan, add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spice mix and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat to infuse the flavors, stirring constantly.
Return venison to the pan. Add bay leaf, tomatoes, brown sugar and 3 cups of the reserved bean broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat. Cook at a low simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the reserved beans during the last 30 minutes of cooking, uncovered. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Garnish with 2 tablespoons sour cream and cilantro.
*Rancho Gordo is a purveyor in the Napa Valley of heirloom beans. They can be reached at www.ranchogordo.com or (707) 259-1935. Substitute pinto beans or your favorite dried beans in their place.
Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Merlot.