I have some personal news…we have cats. I know. Cats???
But here’s the thing – we basically live in the country. We have alpacas for next-door neighbors and chickens which live just up the street. There’s a horse ranch up the hill and a herd of cattle across the road. And anyone who drives by raises a hand or tips their hat like we’re living somewhere in Texas. It. Is. Awesome.
This also means we have rabbits. And moles. And voles. (They’re a thing. Really.) And mice. And spiders. (So many spiders.)
All of these things cats are very good at killing. So, we have cats. Kittens really. They’re not quite three months old. Originally, we named them Cat and Cat. But I have since renamed them Nice and Mean.
The only way you can tell the difference is Nice purrs constantly and Mean rarely wants to say hello when I refill their food bowl. Zeus finds them interesting. They (mostly Nice) have started to play with him on occasion.
Our previous homeowners turned the back deck into a large cat porch. We are finally utilizing it. Nice and Mean aren’t quite old enough to move to the well house. So for now, the porch is their home.
And here we are, ‘country living’ with our Lulu gear and Apple phones (hahaha), growing peppers, picking blueberries, raising cats, and eating Duck Chili.
Yep! You read that right. Duck Chili people.
Now I don’t normally like chili. My dislike isn’t as intense as it is for mice. But still. Chili tends to be mushy, in a way I just can’t get behind. This is not that chilly. This chili is a no-tomato, textured bowl that packs a punch of heat.
We can only make it so often. After all, Garret has to bring home several ducks just to make one batch. You could probably make it with a (tenderish) cut of beef. But I think the gamey flavor really adds something to this dish which would be lost.
In other news – we’ve officially been homeowner’s for ONE YEAR!!! Literally, we got the keys on Halloween one year ago today. Crazy right?!?!?!
Now. On to chili…
5 ancho chilies
5 cups chicken broth
2 pounds skinless duck breast, cut into ¼ inch cubes
Salt & pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 medium white onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 poblano, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 TBS cornmeal (for thickening)
2 TBS cumin
1 tsp cayenne
2 TBS chili powder
1 15-ounce can black beans, washed and drained
Cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
Boil 4 cups of water. Place ancho chilies in a large bowl. Add boiling water. Place another heavy bowl on top. Allow to soak for at least 10 minutes. Remove ancho chilies. Pull off stems and discard. Place ancho chilies in a blender. Add 1 cup chicken broth and puree until smooth. Leave in blender and set aside.
Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat 3 TBS vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown in batches. (I normally do three batches to avoid steaming.) Place browned meat on a plate and set aside.
Add remaining oil to Dutch oven. Add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions begin to caramelize. Add red bell pepper, jalapenos, poblano, and yellow bell pepper. Sauté until softened.
Add garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add adobe chili mixture from blender.
Add another cup of stock to blender and 3 TBS of cornmeal. Blend thoroughly. Add mixture to Dutch oven. Add remaining stock, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder. Allow to simmer and thicken. Just before serving, add black beans and browned duck, allowing entire contents of Dutch oven to warm through completely.