A San Antonio, Texas, native with permanent roots in Auburn, Alabama, Bancroft is a self-taught chef, farmer and forager committed to showcasing sustainable ingredients and local harvests. In August 2013, Bancroft and his wife Christin opened Acre restaurant in Auburn.
The seasonally influenced menu reinterprets the rich heritage of Alabama cuisine and celebrates sustainable ingredients sourced from the on-site gardens and local bounty of the surrounding community.
In November 2018, Bancroft opened his second restaurant concept, Bow & Arrow, an interpretation of a South Texas smokehouse juxtaposed with the communal and casual dining approach of an Alabama potluck. Bancroft is a 2016, 2017, and 2018 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: South” award and winner of Food Network’s "Iron Chef Showdown” competition in 2017.
1 stick unsalted butter
3 lb. Venison
cut into small bits or ground
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 red bell peppers diced
1 large white onion diced
2 jalapeños minced (seeds optional)
15 cloves garlic minced
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup chili powder
2 1/2 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 cups Venison stock
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup dark beer
1/2 of 1 16-oz. can pinto beans drained (optional)
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add venison and sauté until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
Remove venison from pan with a slotted spoon and strain fat, reserving one cup and two tablespoons.
Pour one cup reserved fat into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour to fat to begin roux, whisking frequently, and continue to cook until the roux is milk chocolate in color, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
Pour two tablespoons reserved fat into Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cooked venison to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste, salt and dried spices and continue sautéing until paste begins to toast, no more than two minutes. Pour reserved roux into the pan, stir to combine, and sauté for one minute.
Stir in liquid ingredients and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer covered until ready to serve, stirring occasionally. (If using beans, add them a few minutes before serving to heat through.)
To serve, ladle the chili over the chips. Garnish and enjoy.
Recipe from chef David Bancroft of Acre in Auburn, Alabama
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