Venison and black bean soup

Venison and black bean soup makes a hearty, filling meal. This recipe is great after a day afield or on the water during a cold January day. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

Cold days call for this hearty venison black bean soup

We don’t have continuously freezing weather in the Carolinas. But for folks used to wearing shorts and flip-flops, it’s cold. We still hunt and fish, but we crave something to warm us up after our forays into the cold. Some folks could eat a big, steaming bowl of soup or stew for just about every meal during the cold months and not complain. 

I prefer something with fish or game in it, but that’s not always appealing to children, wives, girlfriends and hunting and fishing buds. After the second day, venison chili gets old to them and they want something different.

This thick, hearty, winter soup recipe isn’t quite as robust as venison chili. But it still shoos that chill to the bone away. It tastes good too. 

The main ingredients in venison and black bean soup are ground venison and black beans. Add some diced tomatoes, onions, a little garlic and some baby bell peppers and it begins to get interesting. Including green chilies and bok choy is a combination you probably haven’t used before.     

Add a little sausage for some spice

This is ideal for warming up during those cold days in January. Deer season has passed, but sportsmen are still in the woods, fields and duck swamps, mountain streams and coastal marshes. Whatever the outside activity, this soup will fill you up and warm your body. It’s also mild enough for a family lunch or dinner on a lazy winter day.

So far, I’ve only made this on the stove top or over an open burner. But it’s almost perfect for simmering in a crock pot. Once all the ingredients are sauteed and mixed, it could be spooned into a crock pot and left on low or warm to be ready to eat when you return.

I generally make this with plain ground venison, but occasionally use venison sausage to add a little more spice.

If you prepare this for a Saturday lunch at the hunting club, it would be wise to at least double and maybe triple the recipe. This is a good amount for a family or a few friends. But cold hunters and fishermen are usually packing big appetites and it’s not good to leave anyone hungry. Any of them may like it enough to volunteer to provide the venison if you’ll make another batch.

Make more than you think you’ll need, especially if cooking at hunting camp or large gatherings. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)


  • 1 Pound ground venison,
  • 1 Can seasoned black beans.
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes,
  • 1 Can green chilies,
  • 1 Large sweet onion,
  • 2 Heads baby bok choy,
  • 4 Baby bell peppers (assorted colors),
  • 1/2 TSP granulated garlic,
  • 1 Cup chicken broth,
  • 1 TSP bacon grease,
  • Coarse ground black pepper,
  • Tortilla chips/oyster crackers/saltines
  • Buttery flavor non-stick cooking spray,
  • A large pot – preferably cast iron.


1. Chop the onion, bok choy, and bell peppers.

2. Use the non-stick cooking spray to cover the bottom of the cast iron pot.

3. Sauté the onions, garlic, bell peppers and bok choy to soften them and break the glaze on the onions while sprinkling in a teaspoon of pepper.

4. When almost done, add the teaspoon of bacon grease and stir to mix it in.

5. Add the venison and more pepper (to taste) and stir frequently until the venison is lightly browned.

6. Add the cup of chicken broth, undrained black beans, undrained tomatoes and undrained green chilies and stir them in well.

7. With the burner on medium, bring the mixture to a light boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

9. Reduce heat to warm and serve. 

This goes well with a green salad or lettuce wedge to begin. Serve it accompanied by tortilla chips, oyster crackers or saltines. Those that like to add dessert will find it hard to beat a bowl of fresh out of the oven bread pudding to top things off.

Oyster crackers and tortilla chips go well with this hearty recipe. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

Warm the soul with this recipe

I like venison, black beans and soup, so it was only natural to combine them. I prefer hearty, thick soups to thin ones. This one fills that bill. It is filling and warming and is just the ticket for a meal or snack on a cold day. This version is mild, but can easily be made more robust by using venison sausage, a Rotel blend instead of plain tomatoes, adding jalapeno peppers and hot sauce. 

My wife prefers it with tortilla chips, specifically the blue ones. I like it with saltines and oyster crackers. One of my friends adds a second cup of broth and serves it with a scoop of rice, like gumbo. Another says it is best with a dollop of sour cream on top. And yet another likes to sprinkle it with cheese. There are undoubtedly other options too and I suggest you try them. If something really stands out, please let me know.

Some folks will think the preparation steps are out of order and that browning the venison should be first, then sauteeing the vegetables in the drippings. 

Go with cast iron when making this dish

I mix my venison burger and sausage very lean with almost no drippings. It’s so lean I spray the pan with non-stick even when cooking burgers. For this recipe, I simply sauté the vegetables in the buttery, non-stick spray and then mix the venison in so any drippings from it will be absorbed into the onions and bok choy. 

Don’t ask about the teaspoon of bacon grease. It’s a secret ingredient and just understand that it works!

I have a stock pot, but prefer to cook this in a cast iron pot. Cast iron distributes heat well and eliminates cold spots out at the edges and hot spots over the burner rings. I have a deep cast iron frying pan that used to be used for frying fish and chicken that is well-seasoned and cooks just right. These ingredients fill that pot absolutely full and that was intentional.


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About Jerry Dilsaver 1135 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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