By Scott Leysath

As the new waterfowl season approaches, you might want to consider cleaning out your freezer to make room for the upcoming harvest. The packages of frozen waterfowl that are properly vacuum-sealed, labeled, and dated can stay put. But now's the time to pull out those that are missing labels and that keep getting shuffled from one corner of the freezer to another and turn them into a big batch of delicious chili.

Simply remove the mystery birds from the freezer and thaw them in a cooler. This will leave you with a mixed bag of ducks and geese that you can transform into a tasty, warming meal for those first cool days of autumn.

Duck and Goose Black Bean Chili

When it comes to chili, I prefer the slow-cooking method, which creates spoon-tender morsels that will appeal to even those folks who claim that wild game is just not for them. Make sure that there is enough liquid to cover the meat, reduce the temperature to low, cover, and keep cooking. Eventually, after several hours, the waterfowl will be pot-roast tender.

Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 Hours
Makes: approximately 1 gallon or 12 large servings


  • 1 cup uncooked diced bacon
  • 6 cups duck and goose meat, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups roughly chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups roughly chopped bell peppers
  • 3 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 16-ounce cans cooked black beans Hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sliced avocado


[Step 1] In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, brown the bacon over medium heat. Add the waterfowl meat and cook, stirring often, until evenly browned. While browning, season with salt and pepper. Once browned, add vegetable oil, onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook until onions are translucent. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, and paprika. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. If necessary, add additional diced tomatoes or some chicken broth so that the liquid covers the meat while simmering.

[Step 2] Add black beans and hot sauce to taste. Once the beans are hot, add the lime juice and most of the cilantro leaves and adjust seasonings to taste. To serve, ladle the chili into bowls and top with avocado and more fresh cilantro leaves.