Because the bison is so lean, we brown it in a little heart-healthy olive oil. Then saute the contents of your crisper drawer. In addition to the usual chili veggies, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach and even mushrooms are welcome. Low-sodium beef broth is the base; I also like to add a cup of wine for brightness. If you’d prefer to do without, simply add an extra cup of broth instead. While beans are a controversial choice in chili, I add them for extra fiber and protein. To serve, skip the typical dairy toppings and offer more produce, like avocados, green onions or fresh cilantro. Sides of jalapenos, Sriracha or Tabasco sauce are good for folks who like chili that sets their mouths on fire. When it comes to this chili, the only way you can make a mistake is if you don’t serve enough.
Even though they are two different animals, the words “bison” and “buffalo” are used interchangeably in most North American meat markets. Patton’s Meat Market in Duluth sells ground buffalo by the pound, allowing you to easily double or triple this recipe as needed. If you prefer to make your chili with diced roast cuts, call Rusty Bowers at Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates and ask him to special order bison stew meat. His bison is sourced from Joyce Farms, which raises heritage bison that are exclusively grass fed.