Open Arms of Minnesota

Potluck Recipe #37: Chili Con Bison AND BEANS

There are those who believe that chili con carne should not include beans — or if it does, that it should go by another name, such as stew. I heartily and most wholesomely disagree, and so does the dictionary:

Chili con carne |kän ˈkärnē; kən|
nounA spicy stew of beef and red chilies or chili powder, often with beans and tomatoes.

I’ll add that without beans, chili can be very tasty, but eating it feels a little like spooning up a pasta sauce, such as a spicy bolognese. It’s just not right. This recipe features bison, which is lean enough to be healthy but flavorful enough to stand up to all the spices and cream.

Chili Con Bison & Beans
Based on a recipe once published in Bon Appetite
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 pounds bison meat, ground
2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups kidney beans, cooked
3 tbsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 1/2 cups (or more) water
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, if you are cilantro averse!)

Grated cheese
Sour cream
Additional chopped onion

1. Sauté the bison, chopped onions and garlic in large Dutch oven over high heat until the bison is cooked through, stirring often and breaking up the bison with back of spoon, about 10 minutes.
2. Add beans cumin, chili powder and chipotle chilies; sauté 3 minutes. Mix in water and half the cilantro. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover partially and cook 1 1/2 hours, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls if chili becomes dry.
3. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
4. Add remaining cilantro into chili and serve, passing cheese, sour cream and additional chopped onion separately.

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