The most popular dish at any hunting camp is always Venison Chili. In fact, I would bet that this is the way most people have tried venison for the first time. I suppose venison chili is like the ultimate first impression, get it right and you have a venison lover, get it wrong and a half bowl of chili goes to waste. I guess this is what has caused us to refine our recipe over the years. A great venison chili starts when you are butchering the deer. We have learned the more deer fat in our ground venison, the more gamey it would be. We make sure not to put any of the silver skin in our ground venison either, and we vacuum seal it to keep it nice and fresh. We also use fresh, frozen, dried, or canned vegetables from our garden. The result is a homestead meal that anyone would be proud to serve for dinner or at camp.
2 Lbs. Ground Venison
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Small Onion (chopped)
1 Large Bell Pepper (chopped)
1 Qt. Canned Crushed Tomatoes, drained of any liquid
1 cup dry back beans, soaked overnight in 3 cups cold water
1 cup of frozen corn (optional, but very yummy!)
1 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 Tsp. Cumin
1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic
In a large pot or cast iron dutch oven (our preference), heat olive oil on med/high heat and add garlic and saute until softened and lightly browned. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add venison, stirring frequently to brown, and cook all the way through.
Unlike beef, venison is so lean, so no need to drain as there will be very little fat, if any.
Add green pepper, tomatoes, seasonings and beans. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring the chili to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes or until beans are tender and cooked through.
Finally, add the corn and stir. Enjoy with a hearty corn bread and top with whatever you like, although we find that we like to eat ours as is!
A big cast iron pot of fresh chili looks almost as good as it tastes. There is nothing better to bring ice fishing and share with your friends, and every time we do it is gone quickly. The next time you make venison chili, don’t forget It may be someones first taste of venison, so make it your best.