Buffalo and White Bean Chili

If you haven’t tried buffalo or bison, it can be a meat you shy away from. People are worried about it being gamey or too pungent. My experience with it is that it is similar to very lean grass fed beef. The big trick is, you can’t rely on the fat in the meat to flavor your food or add an unctuous texture as you do with beef.

The big bonus with buffalo and bison is you can’t raise them on feed lot like cattle. This means they are grass fed and lack the massive animal abuses associated with many cattle farming industrial plants.


1 lb ground buffalo or bison

1 lb dried white beans

1 large yellow onion

3 ribs celery

1 carrot

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper

15 oz diced tomatoes

16 oz chicken stock (In a pinch, use 16 oz water and bouillon. See Cook’s Note below.)

4-6 cloves garlic

3 chipoltes in adobo sauce

1 c coffee, strong brew

2 T ground oregano (I use Mexican oregano over Greek in this recipe)

1 T ground cumin

3 t sweet paprika

3 t turmeric

1 t ground cloves

salt and black pepper


Dice the onion, celery, and bell pepper into a rough dice. Peel the garlic.

Saute the onions in 2 T olive or canola oil until translucent. Add the pepper, celery and carrot. Saute for 3-4 minutes to soften. Crush 4 cloves of garlic (more if the cloves are small) and saute for about a minute more. Add the buffalo and saute, breaking it up as you go. When the buffalo is cooked through, add the turmeric, cumin, paprika and cloves. Saute until the spices become fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, coffee and stock. Stir. Add the oregano and diced chipoltes (1 or 2 if you want just a little heat, 3 or 4 for a lot of heat) and about 1.5 T salt. Add the beans. Stir.

Simmer over low heat for 4-6 hours, until beans are cooked through and soft. Adjust salt to taste. Add black pepper to taste.

Cook’s Notes:

If you want to speed up this recipe, soak the beans overnight. Drain and add them. Cooking time will be reduced to about 2.5 hours.

Alternatively, you can saute the onions, garlic and buffalo then transfer to a crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for 6-7 hours.

I prefer using homemade stock in this recipe since I keep a bit of fat in my stock. If you are using bouillon, you will need to compensate for the lack of fat. The best way to compensate in to add a strip or two of bacon. Alternatively, you can add an additional 2 T of olive oil or 1 T butter to the mix.

#buffalo #chili #beans #crockpot #hearty #familydinner #slowcooking 

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