Open House 2016

Elk Chili with Mexican Chocolate & Lime Crema

Serves 6
Cakebread Cellars Culinary Team
Pairs well with:
Vaca, Napa Valley

The deep dark fruits of this red blend make for a delicious complement to the complex flavors of this dish.


½ lb. scarlet runner 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
5 T. chili powder
2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 tablet Mexican chocolate, chopped

1 c. crème fraiche or sour cream
2 T. lime, juice

½ red onion, minced
1/3 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 1 ½ hours. Add the salt and allow to cool in the broth.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 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 chili powder and sauté for a few minutes. Return the elk to the pan with the chicken broth and the broth from the beans. Add the oregano, cumin and chopped chocolate. Bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the middle of the oven. Cook for 1½ hours until the elk is tender. Check for seasoning and adjust with salt 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.

Note: Scarlet runner beans can be ordered from Rancho Gordo in Napa at or if unavailable substitute a large meaty bean in its place. Elk meat can be purchased from Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram, TX at or substitute beef stew meat if unavailable.

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