Chili is a dish that stirs up lots of different opinions. No beans- more beans! Forget the tomatoes- add extra tomatoes! It can only be beef- I like mine vegetarian! Deciding which chili channel to navigate can be confusing. As long as the recipe is hearty, spicy, and tasty, then you really can't go wrong! I love the versatility of chili: you can make it with any type of meat (or no meat), a variety of different peppers and vegetables, beans and/or tomatoes (or not), and add as much heat as you desire. This Bison Chili with Sweet Potatoes was customized for my family one "chilly" (lol) evening when we were craving something healthy that would stick to our ribs. It's mildly spiced yet rich in flavor. It's also super nutritious thanks to protein packed lean ground bison and vitamin dense sweet potatoes! Chili purists May shake their heads at this recipe, but I don’t care! Something this good (and good for you) can’t be a bad thing.
prep time: ~20 min. cook time: 1 hr 10 min. serves: 6-8
2 tbsp avocado or vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 lb ground bison
12 oz light beer
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” cubes (about 2 cups)
2-14 oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed (combination of black, pinto, kidney, and/or cannellini)
28 oz diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp finely ground cornmeal or masa harina
sliced radish, cubed avocado, shredded jack or cheddar cheese, cilantro leaves, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, tortilla chips, or whatever else you like!
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the onion, poblano and bell pepper and sweat the veggies 5 minutes. Add the garlic, the spices, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Make a “clearing” in the middle of the pot and add the bison meat to brown, season with salt and pepper, and break it up with a wooden spoon to mix into the spices and veggies.
When the meat is no longer pink, add the beer and use your wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Let the beer reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Next, add the sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, stock, and 1 more tsp of salt and stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer 45 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
At the end of the 45 minute simmer, stir in the corn meal or masa harina and allow to thicken for 10-15 minutes more. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Ladle the hot chili into bowls and garnish as desired! *Cornbread or tamales on the side wouldn’t hurt! This is great made ahead and also freezes very well.