Thunder Heart Bison Chili

Free-range, pastured American bison, onions, garlic, chilies, homemade stock and a selection of herbs and spices simmered on the back burner for hours..

For the All-Important Stock

2 pounds meaty, cross-cut oxtail
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup onions, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup Madeira
8 cups cold, filtered water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Scatter the chopped vegetables in a cast iron skillet.  Place the oxtail sections over the vegetables and top each with a spoonful of tomato paste, then place the skillet in a 350 degree oven and roast until the meat is brown, the tomato paste has caramelized and the fat has rendered, about 75 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, leaving the fat behind.  Pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.  Add the garlic, peppercorns and thyme and slowly simmer until reduced in volume by half, about 6 hours.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and store in clean glass jars for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year.

For the Chili

1 pound bison stew meat
1-1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons beef tallow
1 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cracked coriander seeds
1 quart brown stock, divided (from recipe above)
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon granulated piloncillo (optional; use if the chili powder tastes bitter)
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel, crushed (cuts through the fat and brightens the dish)

Melt the tallow in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the meat without crowding (you may need to do this in batches) and brown on all sides.  Add the onions, cumin and coriander and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 2 cups stock, tomatoes, paprika, chili powders and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the bison is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining stock a little at a time as the chili reduces and thickens.

Add the piloncillo, cocoa and lemon peel, stir and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle finished chili into bowls, top with Queso Manchego and chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Help make a difference!  Please pledge to use only Animal Welfare Approved products in your recipes this winter.

2 thoughts on “Thunder Heart Bison Chili

  1. Excellent in not praise enough…Superlative …the senses are tasting the recipe just reading the ingredients…my very favorite food…

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