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Bison Chili

Once plentiful on the western Great Plains, bison—also known as buffalo—is the quintessential American creature, a staple of the Native American diet in centuries past. This chili variation uses bison and is a fusion of Spanish and indigenous cuisines. Chili itself, however, is Mexican, a preparation of meat and spices developed in the 19th century along the present-day border with the United States. Today buffalo are harvested on privately owned ranches and in the wild according to state regulated hunting seasons. Farm-raised buffalo meat also is available, but some grocery stores and restaurants may import it from Asia. With its rich flavor, ground bison is an excellent chili ingredient.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven or pot with olive oil and set it over high heat.
  2. When very hot, add the bison and brown for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Add ½ cup water to deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom as the water evaporates.
  5. Add the cauliflower, bell pepper and garlic, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes, and beans, along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

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