There are few things more rewarding than a filling meal after an exhausting hunt, especially if it involves wild game. These hunt camp stews are sure to fill your bellies and give you the necessary fuel to keep hunting!


Our favorite venison chili (pictured above)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground venison
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced)
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chili seasoning (recipe below)

Steps:

  1. Brown the venison and the onion in a stockpot or Dutch oven until beef is no longer pink. Drain if necessary.
  2. Add the beans (drained), tomatoes (not drained), Rotel (drained if you like it mild, not drained if you like it hotter) and seasoning. Stir to combine, and simmer for 20 minutes or longer. Let cool.
  3. Put the entire pot in the fridge for at least 24 hours (36 to 48 is better). Reheat slowly on the stove, and enjoy with your favorite fixin’s! We like sour cream, cheddar cheese and scallions.

Pro tip: Triple the recipe because this freezes beautifully. We like to use more than one type of bean, so if you triple the recipe, we recommend using a can of dark kidney beans, a can of light kidney beans and a can of navy beans.

Chili seasoning recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons of dried onion flake
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional based on your heat preference
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more based on your heat preference
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Steps:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake to combine, and use 2-3 tablespoons per pound of meat to season your chili according to your preference.

Squirrel gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 7 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. corn oil
  • 4 – 5 small squirrels
  • 3 qt. cold tap water
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion tops
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • Red pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Put oil in pan and heat until warm. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture is brown.
  2. Scrape bottom often to keep roux from burning; set aside.
  3. Put roux in deep gumbo pot. Add water. Set on medium heat and stir until blended.
  4. Add chopped onion, squirrel, salt and red pepper.
  5. Cook for 1/2 hour, then add sausage.
  6. Cook for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
  7. Add onion tops and parsley; cook for 15 minutes more.

Pro tip: Parboil squirrel quarters for 45 minutes to an hour, let cool, pull meat from the bone and add boneless meat to gumbo. Additionally, rabbit would also go well with this recipe. The beauty of gumbo is that you can essentially add whatever you like to it, so get creative! Pheasant, wild turkey, venison sausage, even frog’s legs would go well in this dish.

Hank Shaw’s Spanish Chilindron Stew

hunt camp stewsIngredients
  • 3 pounds chicken, pheasant, lamb, venison or rabbit, in serving pieces
  • 2 large onions, sliced root to tip
  • 10 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or so), or 5 roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups red or white wine
  • Stock if needed (whatever goes with your choice of meat)
  • 1/2 cup diced cured meat: Bacon, pancetta, ham, etc.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 leaves bay
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large handful of dried mushrooms (optional)
Steps:
  1. If using, put the mushrooms in a container just large enough to hold them and pour hot water over them. Cover and set aside.
  2. Salt the meat and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Use this time to chop the veggies.
  3. Pat the meat dry and pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a lid. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides in batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. Set the meat aside in a bowl when browned. Take your time and do this right. Add more oil if needed.
  4. When the meat is browned, add the onions and stir to bring up some of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the onions with a little salt. Cook until they begin to brown, then add the garlic, the cured meat and the mushrooms, if using. Cook until fragrant, then add the meat back to the pot and mix well.
  5. Pour in the wine and turn the heat up to high. Stir and boil furiously until the wine is half gone. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the tomatoes, the roasted red peppers and all the spices and herbs (except the parsley). Stir well. The level of liquid should be about 2/3 the way up the sides of the meat. If it is low, add the stock. I typically need about 2 cups.
  6. Cover and cook at a bare simmer — just barely bubbling — until done. How long is that? Depends on the meat. Rarely is any meat done within an hour, but I’d check a store-bought chicken then. I find pheasants and rabbits take about 90 minutes, boar, pork and hares about 2 hours, and venison and beef up to 3 hours or more. Use your judgment.
  7. Right before serving, test for salt and add some if needed. Add black pepper and the parsley and stir well. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, polenta or bread. Simple sautéed greens are a good accompaniment. A big red wine is also a must, ideally something Spanish, like a Rioja.

Note: For the complete article on this recipe, click here.

Featured image: iStock