Favorite Pairings & Recipes: Venison Chili

Occasionally we find a pairing that simply makes the wine and food a treasured “Hand in Glove” experience. When we find these rare pairings we will post a companion page that provides the food recipe so everyone can experience these exceptional wine and food pairings.

Wine pairing: ‎Turley Judge Bell Amador County Zinfandel 2016

1 pound pinto or black beans (optional)
12-16 dried ancho, guajillo, pasilla, or mulato chiles (use a mix of varieties)
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo or bacon
2-3 pounds venison, ground or diced (we use course ground)
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves to 8 garlic, 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 of black coffee
3 tablespoons molasses
quart Beef or venison broth
Salt to taste
Cilantro and shredded cheese to garnish

Soak beans in water overnight. If you have forgotten this, pour boiling water over them and soak for 4 hours, changing the water after 2 hours.

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 to do so.

Break up the chorizo or chop 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 it and set aside. Add the venison and brown over high heat. You want the highest heat on your most powerful burner here, because the meat will want to steam and stew and not brown. If you are doing a big pot of chili, brown the meat in batches. Stir occasionally as it browns. Salt it as it cooks.

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 you are 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.

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. I typically need at least a pint of broth, sometimes a quart. 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.

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. Serve the chili with rice or cornbread, and top with cilantro, cheese and maybe some pickled onions.

Comments: This is spicy chili, but it is NOT HOT. The myriad of flavors and textures in the chili are a culinary euphoria, it will delight both the chili connoisseur and anyone who simply likes good food. We paired the chili with Turley Judge Bell Amador County Zinfandel 2016 and together it became a MEMORABLE chili dinner. Serving chili over rice was a new experience for us, but after trying it we both agreed it was a very positive addition to the chili. This is really REGAL chili!!!

Recipe source: Hank Shaw’s book: Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things