Sunday, December 28, 2014




Bison Chili
Chili Dogs

It took me three years to make the decision to go through with this recipe.  Folks who know me well know that I have spent more than four decades studying my ancestors and ancestral history, Native American and Welsh. I am also part German, and I know that history, as well.  I am not a hunter, I am a shopper, and the thought of purchasing bison (American Buffalo) meat was a battle I fought internally for three years.  The battle raged because, one, there really is no need to harvest buffalo, which, until recently, have been extremely rare, but next, I wanted to try it because my Cherokee ancestors, long before forced removal in 1838, sent hunters to the west to hunt buffalo. Hunting parties would be gone for weeks, months, even, searching for buffalo herds. After quite a long time, I decided that I should at least know what the meat tasted like as my ancestors did. To be honest, I loved it. I am unsure, however,  if I ever will purchase it again, out of respect, but I wanted to share this journey with you. Sometimes connecting with your past - even in this way, through food - can help you have a deeper connection and understanding of things.  Makes sense to me, but it is difficult to put into concise words.  It is more of a feeling. 

Here is my recipe.  Please know that you could substitute ANY ground meat, even Soyrizo, or, Soy Chorizo, to make this vegetarian.  

Roasting Veg

To roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes prior to cooking the chili, add to a baking sheet or, as I did, my cast iron skillet after tossing in vegetable oil:

1 large quartered yellow onion
3 - 4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 - 2 serrano chiles
2 Fresno chiles
1  poblano chile





Once again, roast at 400 degrees for about fifteen minutes.  At eight minutes in, turn the poblano and onions over and let roast another seven minutes.  After roasting, place all of the chiles in paper bag and roll up or plastic zip-lock bag to steam. About ten or fifteen minutes later, remove the chiles, stem, seed and rib them.  Meaning, to new readers, remove those and the skins, as best as possible. 

Place the roasted chiles and the onions and garlic, now, into a food processor or blender, add the zest and juice of one lime,  and process until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  

Spices for the chili cooking process:

2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon pasilla powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder or, finely chopped chipotle in adobo
2 teaspoons crushed dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed  (Actually, I like two teaspoons, and I toast and grind the cumin seeds in my mortar with pestle)
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves

Fresh Herbs:
1/4 cup Cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Canned or Wet Ingredients:
2 16-ounce cans drained fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or, grape seed oil
1 box beef stock in a box
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 large bottle of Mexican beef (16 - 20 ounces)

In addition:
2 ponds ground bison (American Buffalo)




In a dutch oven or large pot with a lid, add the three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over high heat.  When the oil begins to ripple, add the two pounds of ground bison.  Cook and crumble until the meat begins to caramelize.  This meat is softer, finer and looser than ground beef, so the crumbling and browning process will not take long.  Do not leave it unattended!  When the meat is half way cooked, add half of the dry spices and incorporate well.  The aroma is going to be amazing!



JUST before the meat has thoroughly caramelized, add the chile-veg puree' and stir well to coat all of the meat.  This, too, will smell fantastic

Now add the rest of the dried spices and half of the herbs and all of the wet ingredients. Stir until all are evenly combined.  Tip:  Pour the beer gently so it does not overflow the pot!  Scrape the bottom of the pot to work up the browned bits from the bison caramelization, which is pure flavor!  

I like to add fragrant fresh oregano and thyme sprigs to the top of my chili and I fish it out when it is done simmering. 

Reduce the heat to low and allow this mixture to simmer for an hour.  Longer, if you can, to allow the many incredible flavors to marry.  After an hour, move the lid a little to allow steam to escape to reduce the mixture by half. The beer and spices aroma will be awesome!!!

Now, you can either add beans after an hour, if you wish, or, not.  I chose not to, as I wanted to top hot dogs with the bean-less chili.  Here's what they look like.  You may choose to serve it with beans, atop rice or bread, or simply in a bowl topped with fresh chopped herbs and cheese. Whatever pleases you!

 



 I topped my chili dogs with bison chili with fresh chopped herbs and Myzithra cheese because the bison is a bit sweet and Myzithra is quite salty.  It adds a balance.  The hot dogs I'd sauteed in grape seed oil with cumin seed, so they were smokey, too, adding another complex flavor the mix.  



 I do hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Again, whatever meat you wish to use will work for this: pork, sausage, chorizo of any kind, beef, chicken, turkey and yes, even bison.  There are as many variations to chili you could employ as there are people in the world.  Make it your own and enjoy!  Thanks very much for your viewership and readership!!!  Much appreciation to you all!!!

Now, go to your kitchen and cook something!!!