What's For Dinner: Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac

Classic chili mac recipe gets a Northwoods spin by replacing ground beef with ground venison. 


Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

It is a bit blustery and gray out today, which is perfect slow cooker weather. We make a lot of chili in the fall, and there's something quite comforting knowing that dinner is ready in the slow cooker after spending a day out in the chilly fall weather.

Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

More often than not, our choice for red meat in our house is venison. I don't tend to purchase much ground beef, as, if we're lucky, we (and by "we," I mean, "my husband") will fill our freezer with venison during the fall deer hunting season.

Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

Of course, if ground beef is more your thing, you can easily substitute it in this recipe, no problem.

Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

In my book, a bowl of chili requires plenty of garnishes. My favorites include chopped scallions and plenty of shredded cheese. Oyster crackers are always a good idea, too. And then, if you've got the time, freshly-baked cornbread on the side is never a bad thing.

Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

This recipe makes a whole lotta chili, so be prepared for plenty of leftovers. On the positive side, choosing what's for lunch the rest of the week is a tad bit easier.

Bring on the chilly fall weather! Me and my slow cooker are ready.

Venison Chili Mac (printer-friendly version)
makes 8-10 servings

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 pound ground venison
3 15-ounce cans tri-blend beans (or 1 can each of kidney, pinto, and black bean), drained and rinsed
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups elbow macaroni
shredded cheddar, sliced scallions, and corn bread, for serving

1. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the salt, chili powder, and cumin and cook for an additional minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully transfer the veggies to the bowl of a slow cooker.
2. Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and add the ground venison. Cook until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess grease. Then transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker.
3. Add the beans and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Then stir in the vegetable broth. Set the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-7 hours.
4. Right before you are ready to eat, place the slow cooker on high and stir in the elbow macaroni. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Serve immediately with your favorite garnishes.

(adapted from this Real Simple recipe)

Slow Cooker Venison Chili Mac  || A Less Processed Life

Comments