Wild Game Chili

It’s chili cook off time here in Blue Creek so I am excited to present my venison, or “Wild Game Chili”, as the second in my series of delicious wild game recipe ideas. I use venison in any form for this chili but I call it “Wild Game Chili” because you can substitute whatever game meat you have and it is wonderful. Elk, wild turkey, deer, buffalo… whatever your pleasure (or whatever comes up first in the giant meat freezer) can make a great chili; it’s all about how you treat and prepare your wild game meat, so here we go!

You will need:

1-2 lbs of your meat of choice--let’s use venison steak today! Remember the thawing rules: NO MICROWAVE, DRAIN WELL, PAT DRY, SLICE THIN!

Step One

You’ll start with a spicy “Flour Dredge”:

1/2 cup Flour

1 Tbsp Cumin

2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cloves

1 tsp Black pepper

Chili Powder (Gage your heat--I like it hot so I use about 1 Tbsp but you can use 1 tsp if you like less!)

2 Tbsp “Menudo” Spice! (A mix of ground red chili peppers, Mexican oregano, dried onions, and dried garlic. If you can’t find “Menudo” you should be able to get the other spices.)

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Put your meat into a big bowl and dredge it with this flour mixture (meaning give it a good coating over all your meat). This is the first step to any good chili. You can add other favorite chili spices to this flour! Whatever meat you have, whatever veggies you have, white chili, red chili, green chili- that’s the best part of making chili!

Step Two

In a hot pan, toss in a little olive oil (I like garlic infused oil) or canola oil to coat the pan and braise your meat. Don’t throw it all in at once! You want to gently cook the meat on high heat and if you have too much meat in the pan it will be too juicy and you’ll boil it. Turn the meat with tongs, cooking a couple minutes on each side and remove it from the pan to a bowl or plate as it’s done (if it’s ground meat, work with 1/2 cup sections and remove when browned). Do this until all your meat is cooked. It takes a little extra time but it’s worth it with wild game meat.

Now reduce the heat on the pan and toss in:

1 onion (finely chopped)

3 Cloves of Garlic

2 Chili Peppers of Choice (I freeze chili peppers from summer when they are in season and use them all winter but whatever you can find!) You can use Red Chilies, Poblano Chilies, and/or Anaheim Chilies again, whatever you like. If you want them super hot then leave the seeds in; although it is more common to remove the seeds for more controlled heat.

Step Three

Deglaze your pan with 1/2-1 cup of your favorite wine (red if it’s red chili, white if it’s white chili), a good Ale or thick beer is awesome here and delicious for that smoky or hoppy flavor for your chili. You can also use chicken/beef stock if you don’t want to use alcohol. Cook on high heat, scraping all the goodies from the bottom of the pan until it’s clean and well mixed.

Lastly add:

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 (8 oz) can Pinto Beans

1 (8 oz) can Black Beans (use Navy or another white bean for white chili)

8 -12 oz more stock (Less if you like it thicker, more if you like a thinner chili. You can also thicken your chili by taking some of your dredge and mixing it with your stock until smooth, and then adding to the chili while boiling until desired thickness is reached.)

½ can tomato sauce (Optional-:I like a tomato based chili but the meat stands on its own without it if you like it that way--too much tomato sauce will give it a “spaghetti type” feel.)

Mix well and simmer for at least 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. If it is too thick, or you want more chili, you can add more stock or water. You can now transfer it all to your crock pot and let it sit on medium for as long as you need to, and win that blue ribbon for the cook-off, or take it your neighbors for a favorite game, or just leave it there on a Sunday afternoon to graze on all day! Now you know how to cook Venison two ways. Congratulations!