April 2021 - 13

WILD KITCHEN

Venison chili
My version hinges on ground deer meat, but I've
made it with all kinds of meats, even ground turkey
and goose. I've done it with diced venison, too. Don't
use large chunks; the texture of the chili will be off.
I find chorizo is a perfect start to the chili. It is often
very fatty. Bacon also works great.
What makes my chili unique is the amount of dried
chiles I use. I will typically use 12-16 dried chiles of
all sorts, reconstituted and pureed with a cup of weak
coffee to make the backbone of the dish. Any variety
of these chiles works, but remember that anchos are
mild and guajillos are a bit hotter. None are really hot.
Don't get all hung up on an exact combination of
dried Mexican chiles. My advice is to use at least three
or four kinds, and most of them should be mild.
Hank Shaw hunts
and fishes across the
country, has penned
multiple wild game
cookbooks and keeps
an award-winning food
blog at honest-food.
net. His cookbooks are
available at the Game
and Fish Store.

(Photo by Holly A. Heyser)

Ingredients
1 pound pinto or black beans (optional)
12-16 dried ancho, guajillo, pasilla
or mulato chiles
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo or bacon
2-3 pounds venison, ground or diced
1 large onion, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons sweet or smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chipotle powder (optional)
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup black coffee
3 tablespoons molasses
1 quart beef or venison broth
Salt to taste
Cilantro and shredded cheese to garnish

Preparation
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Serves 12 people

1.	 Soak beans in water overnight. If not,
pour boiling water over them and soak
for 4 hours, changing the water after
2 hours.
2.	 Break up and seed the chiles and cover
with boiling water. Let stand for an hour
or so. Grind to a puree with the consistency of gravy, adding about 1 cup of the
soaking water and the coffee.
3.	 Break up the chorizo or chop the bacon
and fry over medium heat in a Dutch
oven or other large, lidded, oven-proof
pot. Once the chorizo has browned or
the bacon is crispy, remove and set aside.
Add the venison and brown over high
heat. If you are doing a big pot of chili,
brown the meat in batches. Stir occasionally as it browns. Salt it as it cooks.

		

4.	 Once all the meat is ready, add the onion
to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. If you are using chorizo return
it to the pot. If using bacon leave it out
for now. Add the garlic, stir and cook
for 1 minute. Add the beans, paprika,
cumin, coriander, chipotle powder and
salt one at a time, stirring to combine
each time.
5.	 Add chile puree and tomato paste and
stir to combine well. Add the molasses
and enough beef broth to cover everything - you want it to be thin like a
soup. Stir to combine all this well, bring
to a bare simmer and cook gently for 3
hours or so, stirring occasionally. Put
the lid halfway over the pot as it cooks.
You want it to eventually cook down
and be thick.
6.	 Once the beans are tender, you're good
to go. If you are using canned beans,
now's the time to add them. Return the
bacon to the chili if you're using it.
Wyoming Wildlife | 13


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April 2021

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