Midwesterners experiencing the coldest air in a generation should stay home and cozy up to a bowl of my venison chorizo chili. It’s the perfect antidote to winter weather, and a great dish to share with your friends for Sunday’s big game.
My version of chili is inspired by the Hispanic culture of my home state, Texas. That’s why instead of beans, this recipe calls for something so much more flavorful: chorizo, a traditional spicy sausage.
One thing I like about this dish is the variety in texture that you can achieve using a mix of cubed and ground meat. The hunks of venison slowly cook until tender, while the loose chorizo lends hints of annatto with every bite.
To quickly throw this recipe together you can use dried ancho chile powder. But to get more depth in flavor, I recommend making a chile paste. Use a mix of both dark and red chile pods to create a blend that matches your preferred spice levels.
The key to good chili not only lies in slow cooking, but also in the condiments you choose to put on top. My favorite garnishes are cotija cheese, cilantro, green onion and jalapeños.
- 1 ½ pound venison stew meat cut into 1-2″ cubes
- ½ pound ground venison chorizo (substitute with plain ground venison)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can (14 oz.) fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
- 2 jalapeños, chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 ½ tsp. smoked salt (substitute with kosher salt)
- 2 ½ cups venison or beef stock (plus more if needed)
- ½ tsp. cayenne (optional)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Oil for cooking
- Optional garnishes: cilantro, green onions, avocado, cheese, sour cream, etc.
- 1 dried guajillo chile (substitute with chipotle for spicy, or arbol for very spicy)
- 2 ancho chiles
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
Also works with
- Boil 1½ cups of water.
- Toast the guajillo and ancho chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for about a minute on each side, or until they start to blister. Remove and transfer to a bowl.
- Add the boiling water to the chiles and cover. Let the peppers hydrate for about 30 minutes until soft. Remove from the bowl and reserve the water.
- Chop the stems off the chiles and remove the seeds. Puree in a food processor with about ¼ cup of the reserved water until smooth. This should make about ⅓ cup of chile paste. Set it aside until ready to use. Save the chile water to add later if more liquids are needed.
*Substitute 2 tablespoon of dried ancho chili powder for the chile paste if needed.
- In a large pan over high heat, pour in a tablespoon of cooking oil and brown the cubed venison. Remove and place it into a crockpot. Continue the browning process for the chorizo and add it to the crockpot with cubed venison.
- Add a little more oil if necessary and sauté the onions and garlic. Deglaze the pan with a splash of stock and then scrape it all into the crockpot with the cubed venison.
- Combine all the remaining ingredients to the crockpot along with the chile paste. Set the crockpot on low and let it cook for several hours until tender, adding more stock or reserved chile water if it starts to dry out.
- When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro, green onions, avocado, cheese or sour cream.