Guajillo Pepper Chili

Stocking the Freezer with Ready-to-Eat Chilies

Chilies have to be the favorite dish in hunting camp. They’re also one of my favorite one-dish meals to stick in the freezer for a quick and hearty late whitetail and goose season dinner next December. I’ve already nestled two vacuum sealed packages of chili amongst the frozen steaks and roasts from the elk John killed last hunting season and 2 antelope I took last October. Before it gets too warm, and the garden tomatoes demand my attention, there will be several more. The trick of course is to make them a bit different, each from the other.


Dried guajillo starts out as a mirasol chili which America’s Test Kitchen describes as ‘a little sweet with fruity tanginess and mild to medium heat, similar to a jalapeno (2500-5000 units on the Scoville Scale). Another source described the fruitiness similar to a cranberry, so not insipid or overly sweet. What that creates here is a chili with complex, rich, and rather bright flavor. There will be other spicey wild game one-dish meals using fresh jalapenos and serrano peppers as well as dried de arbols before I’m done stacking ready-to-eat meals, but this one is a keeper both for those who love fiery Tex-Mex staples, as well as those who prefer dynamic, balanced, richly flavored wild game recipes. I’ve made it here with venison, but bear meat and goose will work, and ground meat works as well as chopped.


Dried Guajillo Pepper Chili

Makes 2 quarts


  • 1 pound venison in 1” cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped coarsely
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, chopped coarse
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil for browning, in all
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili spice mix
  • 2 tablespoons beef BTB reduced sodium base
  • 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/3 of a dried guajillo chili, about 1 inch length

Chili Powder mix

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground Spanish paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander powder


1.  In a 3-5 quart Dutch oven, start the pot on high, add the water, beef base, 1 tablespoon of the Chili Spice Mix, canned chopped tomatoes and thawed corn. With latex gloves on, break up the piece of guajillo pepper and add it as well.  It may be a mild pepper, but you don’t want to rub it in your eyes or anywhere else.  When the Dutch oven comes to a low boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let it simmer as you brown the meat.

2.  In a large skillet, start 2 tablespoons of oil over medium to medium high heat and, when a wisp of smoke comes off the oil, start browning the meat in two batches. (About 8 ounces of meat at a time in a 10” skillet will keep the steam from forming, and ensure a caramelized-browned finish that adds good—not watered down—flavor to the pot.) As you finish each batch, add it to the Dutch oven.

3.  Let the chili simmer for 45 to 60 minutes uncovered, then serve with corn bread or Corn Dodgers from The Wild Bowl.  FYI, there are at least 25 chilies in that book, all different. Plus meat & potato soups, spicy curries, a pair of multi-meat Burgoos and a tangy Hoppin’ John. 100 recipes in all.

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