Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bison Chili

After a weekend of constant drizzle and rain, Dallas has been in the forties this week. My morning walk from my parking spot to the office has been bone chillingly cold. It also doesn't help that my office building is kept at a frigid 67 degrees. Once the cold settled in, I knew that it was time for me to make my first pot of chili for the winter.

I grew up eating a basic frito pie type chili. Nothing fancy, just hamburger meat, pinto beans, tomato sauce and Williams chili seasoning. Up until last year, that was the only way I made chili. Then a friend of mine made her recipe for bison chili. I found the taste of the lean bison meat delicious, and while I found her recipe to be too sweet for my liking, it got me thinking of how I might deviate from the way I'd always made chili.

Last January, I came across a recipe for homemade chili seasoning and have since used it in place of the Williams chili packets that once were a staple in my pantry. One of the main reasons I like doing it this way is that it allows me to more easily control the sodium level when I make the seasoning mix myself. I decided to add chipotle peppers in adobo to this recipe because I thought the smokiness would enhance the flavor of the bison, and it provides the spice I like in my chili. In my old recipe, I would always add salsa to my bowl to increase the spice level. This recipe has plenty of heat on its own, making the salsa completely unnecessary. This chili is perfect for these chilly winter nights to help warm you up from the inside out.

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Bison Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground bison (regular hamburger meat would also work well if bison is unavailable)
2 tablespoons chili seasoning (you can use any chili seasoning mix you prefer, the blend I use can be found here)
2 14.5 ounce cans red kidney beans
2 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (for a milder chili, only use one chipotle pepper)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
 Add the onions
 and bell peppers and saute for 2 minutes.
 Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.
 Add the ground bison.
 Cook until the meat is cooked through.
 Add the chili seasoning,
 kidney beans, diced tomatoes,
 tomato sauce,
 and chipotle peppers, stirring after each addition.
 Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
 Cover and simmer for at least an hour and a half.

Serve with cheese and fritos, if desired.

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