By Janice Baer

One of the first dishes I make after harvesting a deer in the fall, is to use some ground venison to make my favorite colorful chili.

Tumbleweed (Janice Baer)

I set out to come up with a chili recipe that is less “soupy” and less “tomatoey” and has more of the beans and meat that I like to make it hardier. Tumbleweed Chili does just that. It also has a different taste than most chilis out there and that’s why I think this one stands out.

This recipe makes a huge amount so you can enjoy some now and freeze more for later. You could adjust it to a smaller batch, but if you’re like me, you’d rather be doing other things, so make a huge amount all at once!

And by the way, there are no tumbleweeds in this chili!

Tumbleweed Chili with Cornbread?

 Tumbleweed Chili

(t = teaspoon   T = Tablespoon   c = cup)

2 ½ c beef broth (or I use 2 cans French Onion soup)

 ¼ c Worcestershire sauce

 ½ t chili powder

 ½ t pepper

 1 t dry mustard 1/2 t celery seed

 ½ t salt

 ½ chopped onion (or 1 t onion powder would work)

 1 ½ garlic sauce (or 1 t garlic powder)

 2 T brown sugar

 ½ chopped green Bell pepper (optional)

Place all ingredients in large pot or roasting pan and boil all ingredients together, then simmer covered for 10 minutes.


 3 cans (15.5 oz each) of diced tomatoes (I like to use at least one with green chilies added)

 1 lb. cooked ground venison (or beef or turkey)

 8 strips of cooked bacon (optional)

 Several (you choose amount) mini turkey pepperoni slices (or regular size, cut in ¼’s)

 Return to boil, then simmer covered 30 minutes.


 5 cans (at least) of beans: dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans and chick peas (Garbanzo).

I usually add two cans of each variety and also will include Great Northern beans. Them more color the better!

Simmer covered for at least 1 hour. Tastes even better the following day. Freeze in single servings what you won’t use within a couple days.

Tastes great topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Serve with cornbread too. (I use 3 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix in a 13 x 9 baking pan.