Recipe: Game Bird Chili

69af93f0-add5-4a03-b731-3672e437e1d6 You can never have too may chili recipes. This traditional version uses any kind game bird, and warms up any gathering.

By Jack Hennessy

There are some folks who will tell you there is no such thing as chili that contains cream and isn’t of a red hue. On the other hand, it's also worth pointing out any “chili” with beans is also technically not chili, as the International Chili Society defines traditional red chili as “any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA, which are strictly forbidden.”

No matter what kind of game bird is stocking your freezer -- from quail to pheasants or grouse -- this white chili recipe will do it proud.


(Makes four servings)

Any gamebirds, roasted and picked, yielding 2 to 2-1/2 cups of meat

2 tablespoons olive oil
32 ounces hicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 4-ounce can of diced green chiles
1 15.8-ounce can of white beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black bepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
6 ounces sour cream
6 ounces heavy whipping cream
(meat and any juices from game birds)

Blue corn tortilla chips
Freshly chopped cilantro


Completely thaw game birds -- one whole pheasant, four quail, ot two grouse (skin on or off, makes no difference for this recipe). Liberally salt and pepper the birds. Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bird(s) in a roasting pan and roast at 420 degrees for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Save any juices that have accumulated in pan. Set birds aside to cool.

Heat a large pot on medium-low and add olive oil. Dice onion and add to pot. Finely mince garlic and add alongside onion. Lightly salt and pepper. Stir often until onions are soft and slightly brown.

Once birds have cooled, thoroughly pick all meat off bones and hand-shred to bite-size pieces. Add any leftover juices and shredded meat to pot with onions and garlic. Add diced green chiles and stir, letting cook for a few minutes. Add 32 ounces of chicken stock, along with white beans (make sure they’ve been rinsed), cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer for half hour, stirring intermittently. Add sour cream and heavy cream right before serving. Stir cream in but make sure chili remains warm (between 160 and 180 degrees). This may require a few minutes of heating back up to temperature before dishing out. Garnish with crushed blue corn tortilla chips and freshly chopped cilantro.  

Jack Hennessy is an outdoor writer for Brothers and Company ad agency and a freelance journalist based out of Wichita. He is the author of the blog “Braising the Wild.” Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @WildGameJack or on Facebook at