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Using buffalo meat in chili reminds us that this is the quintessential food of the American West. Leaner than beef, buffalo provides a robust flavor that stands up well to the spices and chilies in this rustic chili. It is widely available now in grocery stores, and only a bit higher in cost, In Houston it is about $4.50 lb. vs $3.99 lb for its lean and naturally raised beef equivalent. If you're like me, you look for meat from animals that are free roaming, fed veggie diets, and are NEVER treated with hormones of any kind. This recipe is for those that like their chili HOT, but you can cut the heat by using either/or for the peppers. Also to cut prep time, I used a presliced tri color pepper and onion medley intended for fajitas found in my convenience/produce case. I also had the meat already cooked and thawed from my freezer.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground buffalo meat
- 1⁄2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 anaheim chili, seeded and chopped (could also use poblano)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander (dried ciliantro)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (I used ancho)
- 1 dash sea salt, to taste
- 1 dash ground pepper, to taste
- 14 1⁄2 ounces crushed tomatoes (I used a fire roasted variety)
- 2⁄3 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1⁄2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, from a can of chipotles in adobo
- 1 bay leaf
- 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1⁄3 bunch spring onion, green parts only, minced for garnish
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped for garnish
- In a large dutch oven with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat and add ground buffalo to brown, breaking large chunks into smaller ones. Cook for about 5 minutes or until all meat is browned. Remove meat and drain excess fat if any, but leave about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot.
- Bring back to medium heat, add onions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and Anaheim and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, scraping bottom from time to time to get all the browned bits of meat folded in with the vegetables. Add the jalapeno pepper, cook for another 3 minutes stirring from time to time. Add garlic, cook for another minute and then add cumin, oregano, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Let spices cook for another minute, stirring.
- Return the cooked meat. Stir in the tomatoes and beef broth, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce and bay leaf, stir and raise heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a slow simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 mintues. Add beans, continue simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the beans are warmed through. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.
- Recipe Variation: To add a smoky depth of flavor, you can roast the peppers before adding. Also, you can mix and match your favorite beans to enhance the appearance, or add another layer of flavor by substituting dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo, for the beef stock.
- Ingredient Note: The canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce called for in this recipe is my latest grocery store gem! The smoky and almost sweet barbeque flavor compliments just about any dish. Let me know what you think as well!