George Faison’s Venison Chili

This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.

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5 lbs venison or buffalo from the shoulder
1 carrot, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup), trimmings reserved
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup), trimmings reserved
2 large onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups), trimmings reserved
4 cups water
2 Tbsp duck fat or olive oil
3 lbs ground venison or buffalo
4 cans (12 oz each) cold beer
3/4 cup chile paste (recipe follows)
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
2 Tbsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
2 whole heads of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Chile Paste:
5 dried ancho chiles
4 dried mulato chiles
3 dried pasilla chiles
4 dried chipotle chiles


Trim buffalo or venison and cut in 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. Place meat scraps and vegetable trimmings in small saucepan, add water, bring to a boil, and skim off any scum. Simmer 20 minutes, strain, and reserve meat and stock separately.

Meanwhile, in a large chili pot, render duck fat, add carrot, celery, and onions, and saute until onions start to brown. Add both cubed and ground meat and saute, stirring frequently, until no longer pink.

Add beer, let foam settle, and bring to a boil. Add reserved stock, chile paste, tomato sauce, cumin, garlic, oregano, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed.

Skim off fat and adjust seasonings, adding salt, pepper, and more cumin if needed, then serve.

Serves 10-12

Chile Paste: Cover chiles with warm water and let soak 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain. In a food processor or blender, puree completely, adding water if necessary. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds and pieces of skin.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

By George Faison, D’Artagnan.