Venison and butternut squash chili from Fenton Fire Hall

- This chili recipe comes courtesy of Chef John Wentworth and owner Curt Catallo from Fenton Fire Hall. Fenton Fire Hall is located at 201 S. Leroy Street in Fenton. You can get more information on the restaurant at

1 dried ancho chile
1 dried pasilla chile
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless venison, cut into 1/2" pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 12-ounce bottle stout
1/2 acorn squash cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Sour cream
Chopped avocado
Sliced red onion

1. Toast chilies in a dry small skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing down to help them make contact with the pan, until darkened in color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; remove seeds and stems. Purée chiles and stock in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.
2. Heat 1-tablespoon oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season venison with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer venison to a plate.
3. Add 1-tablespoon oil to pot, then white onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
4. Return venison to pot and add beer. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost completely reduced, about 4 minutes. Add chile purée, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and meat is tender, 20-25 minutes. Add squash; cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir in lime juice.
5. Serve chili topped with sour cream, avocado, red onion, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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