The Healthiest Chili Recipes You’ll Ever Make

5. Bison Chili Con Carne

Texas-style chili

Texas-style chili Texas-style chili |

Some folks insist true chili should never under any circumstances include beans. If you take a similar mentality, try this chili from The Bison Council for a healthier twist on the classic beef version. Using bison as your protein means you’ll end up consuming fewer calories, less saturated fat, and less cholesterol than if you made the same recipe with beef. We also like the clever use of fish sauce to give the finshed dish a super savory flavor.


  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried chile de arbol
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups frozen orange juice concentrate
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3 chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds bison chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves

Optional toppings

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sliced scallions
  • Crumbled cotija cheese
  • Sour cream

Directions: Place dried chiles in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, flipping occasionally, until pliable and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a blender, then wipe saucepan clean.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and set over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and oregano and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Stir in orange juice concentrate, raisins, chipotles, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to same blender. Cover, allowing a small vent for steam to escape. Cover loosely with a towel, and blend, beginning on low speed, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Pat bison with paper towels to dry. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add bison and spread evenly over surface. Cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add chili mixture and stir to release any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until bison is tender, about 3 hours. Season to taste and serve with toppings.

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