Bison Chili

Cider food pairings bison

I discovered ground buffalo (bison) when I was researching lean healthy meats. I wanted to experiment with it, but didn’t know where I would find it. Looking in the meat case at Whole Foods, there it was. I asked the butcher how much he sold a week and he told me over 70 pounds every few days. Here’s why I like it: excellent source of protein; low in saturated fat, and if the animal was grass fed and grass finished, the meat has a favorable ration of omega-3 to -6 ratio important fatty acids. It’s a red meat that is good for you! This chili is dense; thin it with more broth if you prefer a soupier dish.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil

12 oz ground bison

1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, mashed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup Cherry Cider

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon pure ancho chile powder

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

1 can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

½ – 1 cup broth

2 cups cooked beans – pinto, small white Pinquito beans or even a cranberry bean

1 inch square of dark chocolate (70% or higher)

1 cinnamon stick

In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, to create a rich aromatic base to the dish. Add the ground meat and cook an additional 3–5 minutes, until the meat is crumbly. Turn the heat to high and add the tomato paste, stir constantly until the pan has a thin coat of paste on the bottom of the pan, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the cider to deglaze the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cider is reduced by half. Add the spices – cumin through paprika – and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, beans and cinnamon stick. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Add the chocolate, dried oregano and salt. This makes a dense chili, thin with ½ – 1 cup broth if a soupier dish is desired. Stir and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve with whole wheat tortillas, Manchego shavings, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

This recipe is from True Food, by Andrew Weil and friends.