Bison Chili with Smoked Cheddar Cheese

Recipe makes 6 to 8 portions

Healthy chili using bison meat, Muir Glen tomatoes and beans of your choice.

Healthy chili using bison meat, Muir Glen tomatoes and beans of your choice.

For soaking and cooking the beans:

6 ounces Dried Pinto or Kidney Beans

1 Tb Kosher Salt

1 cup of the bean cooking liquid reserved before draining the beans

Soak beans for 36 to 48 hours in enough water to cover them by ½ inch. Change the soaking water 2 or 3 times during the soaking period; be sure to rinse the beans well after draining them and before adding the new soaking water. Once the soaking period is completed move the beans to a large cooking pot and add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring water to a simmer; reduce the heat to a low setting and cook beans undisturbed for 15 minutes. Stir 1 tablespoon of kosher salt into the cooking water, recover the pot and continue to simmer the beans until they are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Once the beans are tender use a ladle to remove 1 cup of the cooking liquid, reserve this liquid to add to the final chili dish. Drain the beans through a mesh strainer to discard the rest of the cooking liquid; reserve the cooked beans with the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid.

To cook the chili:

1 pound Ground Bison

2 Sweet Onion, small diced

4 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tsp Ancho Chile Powder OR Chili Powder

2 tsp Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tb Dried Oregano

1 tsp Kosher Salt

28 ounce can Crushed Muir Glen Tomatoes

4 ounces Smoked Cheddar Cheese, grated

1 Lime, cut into wedges

Fresh Chiles or Bottled Chile Sauce of your choice for serving

Heat a high sided pot over medium high heat; when hot add enough grapeseed oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot. Spread the ground bison out in the pan to cover in a single layer; leave the bison to sauté for 3 minutes to brown the meat. Use a spatula to then break the meat up into small pieces and allow the meat to simmer for 2 or 3 minutes longer until cooked through. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve in a bowl. Add about a tablespoon more of oil to the pan to coat the bottom and keep over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chile, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt. Sauté until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and the reserved cooked beans and 1 cup of cooking liquid. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low; simmer the chile for at least 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste the chili and add more salt if needed.

The spices added to this recipe make a mildly spicy chili; feel free to stir in some chopped fresh chiles or bottled chile sauce to make it spicier. Ladle the chili into serving bowls and top with the cheddar cheese and lime wedges.


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