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Bison Chili with Cinnamon and Chocolate

Serves 6.


    Creamy pinto beans and earthy black beans stand in for kidney beans and help make a hearty chili along with some smoky poblano peppers. A pinch of cacao in this chili enhances the slightly sweet flavour of lean bison. If you prefer a less spicy chili, feel free to reduce the amount of powder, or add it in stages.


    Sustainability cred

    Like grass-fed beef, bison is considered a more sustainable meat. Much of it comes down to the way they’re ranched.

    While grazing, bison move across large tracts of land quickly, causing less trampling than if they stayed in one spot. Because they eat only grass and avoid other plants in the grasslands, they play a key role in grassland ecosystems, aiding in biodiversity by stirring up seeds with their hooves and fertilizing the earth as they pass by. The meat itself is lean and healthy and can be used interchangeably with beef.

    Roasting those peppers

    It’s an extra step, although fairly simple, but roasting the peppers first brings out their smoky flavour.


    Bison Chili with Cinnamon and Chocolate


      • 2 poblano peppers
      • 1 red pepper
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
      • 1 lb (450 g) ground bison
      • 1 onion, finely diced
      • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
      • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) cumin
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sweet smoked paprika
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
      • 28 oz (796 mL) can whole tomatoes
      • 19 oz (540 mL) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
      • 19 oz (540 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) raw cacao powder
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
      • 1 oz (28 g) goat cheese, crumbled (optional)


      Per serving:

      • calories301
      • protein22 g
      • total fat12 g
        • sat. fat4 g
      • total carbohydrates23 g
        • sugars6 g
        • fibre7 g
      • sodium185 mg



      Turn oven broiler to high. On baking sheet, place poblano and red peppers and place under broiler. Turn peppers occasionally, as each side blackens under the heat. When all sides of peppers have been fully blackened, remove from oven and place in paper bag to cool. Once peppers are cool, peel and discard skin and seeds and cut in small dice.


      In large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil and brown ground bison for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside.


      To heavy-bottomed pot, add remaining 1 Tbsp  (15 mL) olive oil along with onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Add crushed garlic cloves, cooking for a further 3 to 5 minutes on low heat.


      In small bowl, combine chili powder, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt. Add to onion and garlic in pot, then add diced roasted peppers and cooked bison. Stir through. Add tomatoes, half filling the empty can with water to rinse out any remaining tomato sauce, and add directly to pot. Add pinto beans and black beans with cacao powder and simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 40 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken up. Serve with chopped cilantro and crumbled goat cheese (if desired).



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