I like to say I was born with a stainless steel thumb - my culinary equivalent of the green thumb - and that's a lucky thing for me since my passion in life is food and cooking, and everything that comes a long with it.
What do I do with my life? I dream food, think food, look at food, read about food, work in the food business, travel via food, talk about food, use food as my artistic muse, teach others about food, and clearly, cook, play with and EAT food!
Food is my compass.
With all these blizzards happening all over the country, what better way to cope than with chili? Granted, it was a bit mild in the city today, but when I actually made this, it WAS chilly, and this delectable treat was also ready just in time for the Super Bowl! Although, really, this chili is so epically delicious that you don't need the Super Bowl or cold weather as an excuse to make it. This ain't your momma's chili either - this chili is seriously ROBUST. It's made with bison meat and a melange of warming spices, with a kick to match - ancho chili powder really takes it to the next level. No funny business. The best part about it? It's really simple to make and packs a punch with all the flavor that goes into it!
2 pounds ground bison (if you can't find it, you can use beef)
1 large bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 c)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 c)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 c ketchup
1 c water, more if needed
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 t mustard powder
1 t cayenne pepper
3-4 T ancho chili powder (depending on how hot you want it!)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the ground meat and start to brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add in the pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook all these together until the meat is cooked though. Drain and discard fat, if any (bison is REALLY lean, so there's not much!). Toss in the tomatoes, ketchup, and water, and stir to combine.
AHHH Mast Brothers!
Next, add the chocolate. Please note I was SO excited to use this chocolate from the Mast Brothers!! They're such total lumberjack hipsters - really, just two awesome guys from Iowa City who decided they couldn't find great chocolate anywhere, so they just started making their own. Pure, artisanal chocolate made with love. Their chocolates are RIDICULOUS.
the culprits behind the chili's deliciousness and beautiful color
Moving on...Add all of the spices, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegars (you really can use any kind of vinegar you want!) and stir until well combined. If you're so inclined, you can toss in a can off red kidney beans, but I like to have mine beanless. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
the transformation begins...
When you're ready to serve, top it off with a little Greek yogurt and sliced scallions - absolutely delicious! The yogurt helps to cool the spices down a bit and the scallions add a nice green element to the chili show (color and flavorwise). This really is such a wonderful combination of flavors - the spices give it such depth and a nice warming effect, with none of the individual spices overpowering the others - you can get hints of each coming through with each bite. This chili freezes beautifully, so making an extra large batch isn't a bad idea!