One of the best chilis I make also happens to feature one of my favorite meats: venison. I only make it a few times a year when I’m able to get venison from hunting friends. The rarity gives it a special something, though I wouldn’t call this special occasion food. At its core, this is a cozy, rustic chili that makes you want to put a comfy sweater on and sit by the fire.
If you don’t have access to venison, you can also use ground beef. The chili will still be flavorful and filling.
What is Venison?
Venison is deer meat. In our area, hunters are allowed to hunt big game like deer and moose at specific times of the year. I have a trading arrangement with a friend, where he gives me various cuts of deer in exchange for my pies and homemade preserves. I know it sounds very old fashioned, but I love it. This is the same friend who sometimes brings me rabbits that I turn into rabbit stew.
If you are a red meat eater, venison is something I’d recommend trying. It is lower in saturated fat than other red meats, a good source of iron and doesn’t have artificial hormones or antibiotics since it’s wild game meat.
You can purchase venison online at Fossil Farms, which is where I have occasionally purchased a rabbit.
Tips for Success
This venison chili is very easy to make, but here are a few tips:
- Take your time. A good chili can’t be rushed and this is especially the case with game meats. You need to give your chili time to tenderize the meat and develop all that flavor you’re craving.
- The amount of meat is flexible. I have made this chili with 1 lb of venison, 1 1/2 lbs and 2 lbs. Any of those amounts works. The variability is because sometimes I don’t have a big package of meat to work with. With higher amounts of meat you may need to add a bit more vegetable broth if the chili becomes too thick.
- You can use ground beef. As I mentioned above, if you are unable to find venison you can also use regular ground beef.
I believe it is essential to serve venison chili with something bready on the side. I’m not picky about what that bready accompaniment is, but I definitely want something to dip into the chili and then sop up any extra bits left in the bowl. This chili is so good you won’t want to waste any.
My favorite bready sides are: cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, sweet potato biscuits and popovers. A nice slice of sourdough bread is also delightful with this chili.
We love to top this chili with generous amounts of cheddar cheese. You can also add a dollop of sour cream if you like.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Fridge: Let your chili cool, then transfer it to an air tight container and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days. I like to reheat it by ladling the amount I want to eat into a small pot and reheating it on the stove over a medium-low flame. You can also use a microwave, just be sure to cover the chili so it doesn’t splatter.
Freezer: This chili freezes well and can be stored in an air tight, freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or on the stove over low heat when you’re ready to eat it. I recommend adding a bit of vegetable broth to your pot if reheating on the stove from frozen.Print
This hearty Venison Chili is easy to make and packed with flavor. Serve it topped with cheese and buttermilk biscuits, cornbread or popovers on the side.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste *
- 1 1/2 pounds ground venison **
- 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 28-oz can tomato puree
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream
In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, thyme, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the ground venison and cook the same way you would cook ground beef. Break it up with your spoon and stir it around until the meat has browned.
Add the beans, tomato puree and vegetable broth. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Take off the lid and give the chili a good stir. If it is too thick, you can add additional vegetable broth at this point. Mix again, then taste and adjust salt & pepper to your liking. Simmer uncovered another 30 minutes.
Serve topped with generous amounts of cheddar cheese! You can also add sour cream.
* I use 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to start and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, but I always adjust this towards the end if needed.
** You can also use ground beef and adjust the amount of meat. I have used as little as 1 lb and as much as 2 lbs. If you add more meat, you may need to add a bit more broth.
Keywords: venison chili, ground venison recipes