Bison Chili

From Julie Van Rosendaal

2017 Sep/Oct

Chili is the perfect vehicle for bison – add some crumbled bison sausage to the mix too, to spice things up a bit.


  • canola oil, for cooking
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 2-T. chili powder
  • T. cocoa
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1 19-oz. (540 mL) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-2 19 oz. (540 mL) can(s) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • c. salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions in it for a few minutes, until they soften. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for another minute. Add the bison and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until it’s no longer pink.

Add the chili powder, cocoa and cumin and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans and salsa and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Keep it covered if it’s thick enough for your taste – if it seems thin, leave the lid off so that the excess liquid can evaporate. Season with salt and pepper if it needs it.

Serve hot, topped with sour cream and grated cheese, or cool it down and refrigerate it for a day or two; reheat over low heat on the stovetop. Serves 8-10.