A Squared: Recipe Re-Do: Spicy Two Bean Bison Chili

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recipe Re-Do: Spicy Two Bean Bison Chili

In chilly weather like this, there is nothing better (or easier to make) than a bowl of homemade chili. This chili recipe is so perfect for cold days like this-- it simmers all day in the slow cooker and then a hearty dinner is waiting when for us at dinnertime.

As you know from some of my other Recipe Re-Do posts (like this one and this one), I'm a big fan of making tweaks to my favorite recipes to make sure that they taste a little better every time. This chili recipe received a small makeover recently with just a few ingredient swaps from the original: deeper flavors from a bold IPA and fire roasted tomatoes and amped up heat from Serrano peppers and Mexican-style chili powder.

This recipe makes a huge amount of chili: perfect for feeding a crowd or freezing in batches to use for dinner at a later date. I would also point out that-- depending on what you top this chili with-- it's actually a pretty healthy recipe filled with lean and healthy proteins and a ton of veggies. Eat up!


  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced *I use red, but you can use any combo of your favorite colors.
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1 bottle of strong and/or dark beer *I used an IPA this time
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz. can tomato puree
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 14.5 oz. can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz. can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 Tbs. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. hot Mexican-style chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbs. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add bison to the pan and use a spatula to break it up as the meat browns, stirring frequently.  Once the meat is browned, drain excess grease from the pan and pour beer into the bison mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently and scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the beer has reduced by at least half.

Pour the contents of the skillet into a large slow cooker.  Add canned tomatoes and the following 6 items through the black beans.  Stir ingredients well and then fold in frozen corn.  Add the remaining spices to the mixture, mix well, cover, and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours.  Periodically remove the lid and give the mixture a quick stir.

After a few hours of cooking, taste a spoonful of chili and add additional seasoning as needed. 

Serve with the sides and toppings of your choice: With cornbread, tortilla chips, or over pasta (like my husband likes it).  Other great toppings include: Avocado chunks, guacamole, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, or thinly sliced radishes.

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