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Recipe - Venison Chili Mac & Cheese

Wondering what to do with all your ground venison meat? Here's a tasty option.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Venison Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds ground venison
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole Italian tomatoes

Mac and Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups half-&-half
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Start by making the venison chili: Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the ground venison.

Season the venison with salt and pepper, then stir until it turns brown. Incorporate the onions and garlic, sautéing over medium heat until they begin to caramelize, typically around 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, which will help neutralize some of the acidity. Pour in the red wine and allow it to reduce by half. Follow this by adding the beef broth and allowing the chili to simmer for 1 hour.

Introduce the Italian tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, and ground cumin, then simmer for an additional hour. If necessary, adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the venison chili into a casserole dish large enough to fill it halfway. Wrap the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Boil the pasta for 3-4 minutes longer than the package instructions recommend. This may result in slight overcooking, but it's essential for achieving an exceptionally creamy mac and cheese.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and cool it under cold running water. Shake off any excess water and place the pasta in a plastic container. Mix in the remaining Mac and Cheese Ingredients, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Retrieve the pasta mixture and spoon it over the chili. Sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese, then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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