By Lucas Leaf
Summertime wild game recipes are perfect for clearing room in the freezer in anticipation of the upcoming hunting season. One-pot meals like this white chili recipe are a favorite of mine any season of the year, and can clear out a range of unused meats, including pheasant legs and thighs. Chili is perfect for a summer get-together of any kind.
This pheasant chili uses a simple technique called braising. Instead of cooking slowly on the stove or in a slow cooker, it takes a ride in the oven to gradually build bold flavors and break down otherwise hard-to-cook meats. In this case, the pot goes into the oven uncovered, which reduces the liquids and bakes a rich golden cap on the top of the chili.
Serve this one-pot wonder with grilled tortillas. Or go the traditional route with some good ‘ol cornbread. If you're feeling really adventurous, break out the last of those venison brats and give them a bath in this chili for a twist on a classic.
Recipe: CREAMY WHITE PHEASANT CHILI
Cooktime: 3 hours
1 pound bone-in pheasant thighs and legs
1 pound pheasant sausage (half pork shoulder, half pheasant) seasoned with Walton’s Hatch Green Chili Seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced poblano peppers
1 cup diced white onion
1 cup diced celery
1 jalapeno diced
3 cans white beans (cannellini or great northern)
2 cans sweet corn kernels
1 tsp. dry oregano
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 cup white wine
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 quart pheasant stock (substitute any game stock or chicken stock)
2 pints half-&-half
1. In a Dutch oven or deep sided pot, add the vegetable oil and heat the oil on high until it begins to smoke. Season the pheasant legs and thighs with salt and pepper, then sear on both sides until brown. Remove the legs and thighs and repeat with the mixed sausage, broken into bite sized pieces.
2. Remove the legs, thighs and sausage from the pot. Add the diced vegetables and seasonings. Cook on high until tender or about 5 minutes.
3. Place the meat back in with the vegetables. Add the white wine to deglaze the pot. This will pull off all the awesome flavor that is stuck to the bottom. Let the wine reduce until almost absorbed.
4. Add the vinegar and stock and bring to a simmer. Now add the beans, corn and half-&-half. Bring the chili to a simmer and check for seasoning.
5. Place the chili uncovered into a preheated 325-degree oven. Cook the chili for 2-1/2 hours. Do not stir it. As the chili cooks the flavors will condense and a golden cap will form on the top.
6. Remove the chili and let it stand to cool. Remove the legs and thighs. Carefully clean the meat from the bone, give it a light chop and add it back into the pot. Prepare your garnishes, grill the tortillas and you are ready to eat.
This chili recipe can also be made in a slow cooker. Follow steps 1 through 3 and add everything into the slow cooker. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours.