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Black Bear Chili Nachos
By Chef Maurice Boudreau
The inspiration for this recipe came after taking out and dusting off a table top meat grinder I had but wasn’t using, along with the fact that I was in the mood for some fun, relaxed finger food. Nachos seemed like a great idea and I thought that topping them with a black bear chili would take them to the next level. After all, it’s not always gourmet meals in a chef’s house.
Before we go any further, I must stress the importance of food safety and sanitation when handling and cooking bear meat. Bear meat is a carrier of trichinellosis roundworm (trichinosis) and must be fully cooked to 71 degrees Celsius or 160 Fahrenheit in order to kill the parasite. There are many cases of people cooking bear over camp fires and becoming ill later because it didn’t reach the recommended internal temperature. Some say freezing kills the parasite, but I don’t think that is the case and I feel safer going by the internal temperature. Cross contamination is also a concern, so best be careful where you place anything that comes in contact with the raw meat.
Maurice Boudreau is a Red Seal Chef currently lending his skill and creativity to The Hungry Heart Café on Rawlin’s Cross in St. John’s. The Café is a social enterprise initiative of Stella’s Circle. Maurice has a passion for local food that he is happy to share whenever he gets the opportunity.
or more on Stella’s Circle and the force that it is visit their website: http://stellascircle.ca
Black Bear Chili: 2-3 lbs
- ground bear meat
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 3 medium onions
- diced 2 cloves garlic
- minced 3 mixed peppers, diced
- 1 can kidney beans
- 2 tbls cumin powder
- 2 tbls coriander powder
- 1 tbls chili powder
- 60ml canola oil
- Pinch sugar, salt and pepper
- Tortilla chips
- Marble cheese, grated
- Jalapeno, sliced
- Sour cream
- Green onion
- Fresh tomato
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Once warmed, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.
2. Once the onions and garlic are soft, add the cumin, coriander and chill powder and cook for two minutes.
3. Add the bear meat and cook until browned, stirring often. If it starts to stick, add a little liquid such as water or stock; just enough to stop the sticking.
4. After the meat has browned, add the peppers and tomatoes and reduce the stove temperature to below medium. We are looking for a gentle simmer and not a boil.
I recommend simmering the chili uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour before tasting. You can never be too safe.
5. You can add the beans anytime after 30 minutes. Take it off the heat once it reaches your desired consistency
6. Using a food thermometer, check the temperature of the chili to make sure it has reached 71 degrees Celsius. I would think that by this time it will be much higher, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with the sugar, salt and pepper. If it’s too mild, add some extra child powder, but remember that like all good chilies, it will taste better the following day.
You can enjoy the chili on its own with some sour cream and grated cheese or have it on the nachos like we did. Add chopped green onions, sliced jalapeños with the seeds left in, grated marble cheese, diced tomato and broil it for a couple minutes. I served it with favourites like salsa, guacamole and sour cream on the side for dipping.
I loved the taste of it, as did our company, and we all agreed that it was somewhat similar in taste to moose. I’m already looking forward to bear meat from a fall hunt to see the difference a summer diet can have on it. I can only imagine how good it will taste if they have been snacking on berries, salmon or honey all summer. Check back to see what I come up with.