Chili is perfect wintertime comfort food. And because it tastes even better the next day, chili is perfect to make ahead if you’re having large groups of people over, or if you like to have lunches and dinners ready in the fridge or freezer. If you like, double (or even triple) this recipe and freeze half; thaw and reheat over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.Having a pot of chili on the stove is also ideal for nights when the family is all over the place; everyone can eat whenever they get home. To fancy it up a bit, buy some large, crusty dinner rolls, slice off their tops and pull out the soft innards; spoon hot chili into the bread bowl and serve topped with grated cheese.
Bison & Sausage Chili in Bread Bowls
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb ground bison or extra-lean ground beef
2-3 fresh Italian or chorizo sausages, squeezed out of their casings
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) chili powder
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) paprika
1-2 tsp. (5-10 mL) cumin
1 tsp. (5 mL) oregano (optional)
1 tsp. (5 mL) dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 – 19 oz. (540 mL) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 – 19 oz. (540 mL) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 14 oz. (398 mL) can brown beans, with pork or in tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) beef broth
1/2 cup (125 mL) salsa
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Sauté the onions in for a few minutes, until they soften. Add the red pepper and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the bison and sausage and cook it, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, beef broth and salsa and bring the mixture to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the chili for about an hour. Keep it covered if it’s thick enough for your taste – if it seems thin, leave the lid off so that the excess liquid can evaporate.
Serve your chili hot, topped with sour cream and grated cheese, or cool it down and then refrigerate it for a day or two. Serves 6.