How to Make Bison & Butternut Squash Chili (the Ultimate Comfort Food)! by Erica Kane

Soups Dinner
10 months ago
How to Make Bison & Butternut Squash Chili (the Ultimate Comfort Food)!

This is an amazing chili made with bison and butternut squash – and topped with your favorite garnish! I need to state off the bat that I always make extra food, especially soup and chili. I LOVE LEFTOVERS. The below recipe requires the use of two Dutch ovens. You can half this recipe and use just one Dutch oven, but it's so good you might want to make the larger batch.

You’ll need:

  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • olive oil, for sautéing
  • 2 small white onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (you can use more or less based on your spice preference)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon medium chili powder
  • pinch Vulcan's Fire Salt (available at The Spice Shop in Chicago)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pink beans
  • 1 can (28 ounces) red kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced or chopped
  • Cheddar cheese, cilantro leaves, sour cream, avocado, scallions, etc., for garnish

Here's how you make it:

  1. Heat large Dutch oven (or two!) over medium-high heat. Coat with a bit of olive oil and add bison to the pan to begin sautéing. Sprinkle with salt and continue sautéing until the bison is browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Remove beef and set aside in large bowl.
  2. Add a smidge more olive oil to the pan and add your onion and bell pepper. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the can of tomato paste, garlic and jalapeño. Sauté another few minutes. Add wine and let it boil (this should happen almost immediately). Scrape up all of the goodness on the bottom of the pan and let reduce until the wine is almost soaked into your vegetable mixture. Once almost entirely reduced, return bison to the pan.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the garnishes) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover and let simmer for as long as you like, but at least 90 minutes to 2 hours. I like to cook soups as long as possible as they get really stew-y and infused with flavor.

Transfer to bowls and top with garnishes of your choice!

Vulcan's Fire Salt
Vulcan's Fire Salt $6
As the name implies, expect a tongue burn, maybe a little eye watering! What you may not expect is the rich depth of flavor that this blend offers; it has influences from Caribbean and eastern Central American recipes, though it doesn't fall into any ethnic or regional tradition.

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