For a pot of chili using bison (buffalo) meat, I wanted to add a bottle of dark beer, so I asked my husband to pick some up. He selected a microbrew stout from northern California: North Coast Brewing Company's Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. A bottle went in the pot, and of course what else to drink with the meal but another bottle of the same?
Bison contains significantly less fat and saturated fat than beef (or any other meat, for that matter), and it adds a similar flavor to chili, spaghetti sauce, and so on. With two kinds of beans and a little cheese on top, this is a protein powerhouse. The recipe makes a large potful, enough for a big family and/or plentiful leftovers.
Recipe: Microbrew Bison Chili
3 T canola oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
½ cup diced green pepper (optional)
3 T good-quality chili powder
½ teaspoon chipotle powder, or more to taste
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can diced tomatoes, preferably no-salt-added
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup water
1 pound ground bison (buffalo)
1 bottle dark beer, such as stout
Salt, to taste
1. Heat 2 T of the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add next five ingredients (onion through green pepper) and sauté, stirring frequently, until veggies start to soften, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in chili and chipotle powders. Add next 5 ingredients (black beans through water) and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 T oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add bison and cook, crumbling meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When the meat has no pink left in it, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the chili.
4. Stir in beer, and add more water if you want a more soupy consistency (leave it as is if you prefer stew-like chili). Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let the chili simmer for at least 15 minutes to let all the flavors combine.
Season with salt to taste.
Serve over rice, with corn chips or (my favorite) cornbread. Pass a bowl of grated jack or cheddar cheese at table, if you want. You can freeze leftovers and have it again on a cold winter night.