Appetite For Instruction: Venison Frito Pie

Recipe Demonstrated by Dan Landsberg of Tillman's Roadhouse

Walk into Tillman's Roadhouse and treat your eyes to a feast. Exposed pine walls and crystal chandeliers set off luxe designer fabrics and rough-hewn country accents in this unique Bishop Arts restaurant. Executive Chef Dan Landsberg describes Tillman's cuisine as "gourmet chuck wagon", and the atmosphere is right on the money considering his menu features everything from Texas Honey and Lavender Glazed Salmon to Venison Frito Pie.

We'll focus on the chuck wagon part today, considering the brisk 87-degree chill in the air.

Football season is upon us as well, and the aforementioned Frito Pie would be a welcome addition to any game day spread. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Landsberg does consider Fritos a "locally-sourced" ingredient--and that makes this dish a little fancy, too, right?

Step 1: Brown two pounds ground venison in a cast iron skillet coated with vegetable oil. Add two tbsp. ground New Mexico chile and 2 tbsp. kosher salt. Also add one tbsp. each ground ancho chile, ground chipotle chile, ground cumin, black pepper and chopped fresh thyme. Continue to cook until all moisture has evaporated. Remove venison from skillet and reserve.

Step 2: Coat skillet in fresh oil and add one large Portobello mushroom, cleaned and diced. Sear on all sides and add two small onions (diced) and two cloves of garlic (minced). Once onion has softened, add two small carrots (diced), two small parsnips (diced) and two medium beets (peeled and diced) and sauté until vegetables are softened. Return venison to pan along with a 12 oz. can diced tomatoes and two bottles of Shiner Bock beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Step 3: Sprinkle in ½ cup masa harina and stir to incorporate. Simmer 20 minutes or until chili is thickened.

Step 4: Arrange desired amount of Fritos (as in, a bunch) in a bowl and top with desired amount of chili (again, don't be shy).

Step 5: Top with a generous handful of grated white cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped scallions. Serve to all your football buds and prepare to be elected Official Cook of '09-'10 Season.

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