Venison Butternut Squash Chili

I am branching out in the chili department.

Once, I’d have scoffed at making or eating any chili other than Texas-Style Chili, but these days I’ve discovered a taste for kinds that aren’t quite so…traditional.  I’ve got a lovely chili recipe in the cookbook that uses, of all things, dark chocolate (I was surprised at how delicious it is), and I’ve even given into Cincinnati-Style Chili as of late.  So maybe it’s not a huge surprise when I decided to make chili with some of the stew meat from our deer that I threw some butternut squash and cinnamon into it.

Next thing you know I’ll be making a pork chili verde.  Which actually sounds pretty good.  Hmmmm…

At any rate, we were very pleased with this chili – cooking the butternut squash in the chili for the entire two hours gave it a rich, silky texture (without making it sweet) and the cinnamon lent it a bit of an exotic flavor that countered the smokiness of the the chili powders and paprika quite well.  All in all, it was a delicious and satisfying chili that went very well with an updated – and much better – version of my Savory Almond Flour Muffins (going in the cookbook) on a cold winter’s night last week.

No venison?  Beef stew meat will work just fine.  But keep in mind that because venison is so lean, it keeps the calorie content of this dish pretty low, especially for a chili, so use venison if you can.

Oh – and it’s Whole30 to boot.

Venison Butternut Squash Chili

Venison Butternut Squash Chili

Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons lard or ghee
  • 1 pound venison stew meat, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large jalapeno chiles, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 ounces [url href=”” target=”_blank”]tomato paste[/url]
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  1. Heat the lard or ghee in a large, enameled Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the venison to the pan and brown the meat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the onion, poblano and jalapenos; continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the onion and peppers begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powders, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the beef stock and taste. Season as needed with salt
  3. and pepper, then stir in the butternut squash.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the venison is just about fork tender. Remove the lid and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes more. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 317 calories, 10.7g total fat, 26.5mg cholesterol, 568.7mg sodium, 1318.5mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 5.6g fiber, 10.5g sugar, 33g protein


9 thoughts on “Venison Butternut Squash Chili”

  1. It will never be your “Texas Style Chili”, and nothing could ever replace that as what I now consider “chili”, but there is nothing wrong with playing the field. And this was damn good. When can we have it again?

  2. I will probably never get the hubby to eat anything other than the Cincinnati Style Chili, but this might be the ticket to get him to eat venison! 😉 Sounds SO yummy!!

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