Elk Chili with Mexican Chocolate and Lime Crema

Yield: 6 Servings

Chef: Chef Brian Streeter

Elk Chili with Mexican Chocolate and Lime Crema


  • ½ lb. Christmas lima beans*
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 lbs. elk, stew meat*
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 red peppers, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. tomato puree
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ tablet Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • sugar
  • 1 c. crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 t. lime, juice
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • ⅓ c. cilantro, chopped


Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. The next day place on the stove and cook at a low simmer until tender, about 1½ hours. Add the salt and allow to cool in the broth.

Cut the stew meat into one-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a wide bottom pan over high heat and add the vegetable oil to the pan and sear the meat in two batches. Remove to a side plate when done. Add the onion, peppers and garlic to the pan and sauté until soft. Stir in the tomato puree and chili powder and cook to reduce for a few minutes. Return the elk to the pan with the chicken broth Add the oregano, cumin and chopped chocolate. Bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn heat down to low. Cook for 2½ hours until the elk is tender. Add the cooked beans and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt or a pinch of sugar if necessary.

Whisk together the crème fraiche and lime juice and set aside. Ladle the chili into warm bowls and top with a spoonful of the lime crema, chopped onion and cilantro.

Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Vaca Red Wine Blend.

Christmas lima beans can be ordered from Rancho Gordo in Napa at www.ranchogordo.com, or if unavailable, substitute a large meaty bean in its place. Elk meat can be purchased from Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram, TX, at www.brokenarrowranch.com, or substitute beef stew meat if unavailable.