This was made in a pressure cooker, but if you don’t own one, no problem. Follow my modifications for a stove-top version. I often make chili exclusively with ground turkey but this version with 50% bison won our seal of approval. Not that much additional fat, but definitely a more complex flavor.

(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground bison meat
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or other red pepper of your choice)
1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
garnishes of your choice

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker. Sautee the shallot, bell pepper and jalapeños with a little salt and pepper. When fragrant, add the two kinds of meat and saute for a few minutes. Add all other ingredients, close the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure.

Reduce heat, cook for 25 minutes. Release the pressure quickly according to the method recommended for your pan. Simmer the chili gently for a few more minutes and serve. Adjust consistency with water or by reducing it further. Serve with toppings of your choice. If making in a regular pan, simmer gently for 1 hour, adding more liquid if needed during cooking.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As you may know, we cook with leftovers in mind, and chili is one of the perfect recipes to enjoy in subsequent days, it gets better and better. Bison meat is widely available where we live, but any ground beef will work, although the fat amount will be higher with most other cuts. We love the mixture of the two types of meat. If you have pickled jalapeños hanging around, they are a nice topping idea also. We used guacamole and yogurt seasoned with salt and lime juice.

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Yes, my pressure cooker has been working hard these days. Only last week I shared a recipe for chicken thighs, and now a very nice chili made in 30 minutes. Thanks to the power of pressure, it delivered the same luscious flavor of one left on the stove top for hours, simmering away.  I was not too fond of beans in chili, in fact it’s the first time I made it this way. It won’t be the last. Surprising how well the flavors mingle, with the beans giving a nice creamy feel to the chili without any addition of extra fat.

(adapted from The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book)

1 T olive oil
1.5 pounds ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
1/2 onion, diced (optional, I omitted)
2 ribs of celery, diced
1.5 teaspoons salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon chili
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 can stewed tomatoes (about 14 oz)
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (about 14 oz, I used Muir Glen)
1 can white kidney beans, well-rinsed
1/2 cup water (if needed)
garnishes of your choice

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker, add the onion and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sautee until translucent and fragrant. Add the ground turkey and cook in high heat until well-seared. Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and cumin.  Mix well.

Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, and enough water to almost cover the meat, if needed.  Close the pressure cooker, let it come up to full pressure, and cook for 20 minutes.

Release the pressure quickly, and if needed, reduce the liquid by simmering for a few minutes with the lid open.

Serve with the garnishes of your choice.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Some recipes for turkey chili call for a huge amount of fat in the form of sour cream and cheese. I’ve seen recipes very similar to this one, except for the fact that before serving 3/4 cup of sour cream and 1 cup of shredded cheese would be added, and simmered for a few minutes. Honestly, I don’t see the need. The white beans provide all the creamy feeling we might crave. We enjoyed it quite simply with some diced avocados. This was a comforting chili that did not leave us prostrated on the sofa for a couple of hours. Perfect. The picture above was taken when I re-heated the meal for serving. I had prepared it in the morning for our Sunday dinner. As it is always the case for this type of concoction, it gets better next day. You can do it in the Instant Pot, and you can do it in a regular pan, just cook until super tender, probably 90 minutes or so would be ideal. Come to think of it, the crock pot might come in handy too…

Note to self: try to always keep some parsley or cilantro in the fridge!

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Thanks to the wonders of pressure cooking, this chili can be on your table in 20 minutes, and I promise you it will taste as complex as one that simmered on the stove for hours. I used ground bison because we love it and it’s always available in our grocery store, but of course you can use ground beef or a mixture of  beef and pork.  I don’t think turkey will work well without some major adjustments because the meat needs to have some fat to stand the high pressure cooking without drying up.  If you want to make this in a regular pan, simply increase the cooking time, use the method you normally do for chili.  I adapted this recipe from several sources, using tips from cookbooks such as Hip Pressure Cooking and Pressure Cooker Perfection. For those interested, this recipe is Paleo-friendly. Not exactly low-carb due to the amount of tomatoes, but I’d say not that heavy in the carb department either.

Bison Chili

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
salt and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 pound ground bison
1/4 pound Italian sausage, mild
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large skillet, saute the shallots seasoned lightly with salt. When they pieces are translucent and fragrant, add the chili powder and cumin, mixing constantly for a minute or so. You can do this initial step in the pressure cooker itself, but I prefer to use a pan with a larger surface.

Add the ground bison and sausage, increasing the heat to high. Cook them until they are no longer pink, but do not let them get brown. Stir the tomatoes and water, transfer everything to the pressure cooker.

Close the pan, bring the pressure up and cook under pressure for 12 minutes. Release the pressure quickly by running the pan under cold water in the sink or using another method available for your pan.  Open the pan, if the chili is too liquid simmer for a few minutes until it reaches the consistency you like. If too thick, add a little more water.   Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.


to print the recipe, click here

Bison Chili served

Comments:  We both loved this recipe, but I decided I loved it more than Phil,  so leftovers were all mine, and enjoyed several days in a row for lunch. I don’t know about you, but we like to have variety at dinner time. We never repeat the same meal two days in a row. But I can have the exact same lunch for five consecutive days and see absolutely nothing wrong or boring with it.  Go figure…

Chili in general is quite  substantial, and this one is no different. I normally serve it with slices of avocado, a little grated cheese and call it a day. But of course, a piece or two of cornbread could go well too.  As usual with chili, you can make it furiously fiery by adding more chili, cayenne, maybe shake some Sriracha on top.  Particularly with meat as flavorful as bison, we prefer to use a lighter hand with the seasoning, and added only one tablespoon of chili powder. It does get better with each passing day, I can vouch for that!

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The weather is cooling off and football season is warming up!  Because our university team is ranked near the top this year  every game matters, and they’re all nail-biters.  This weekend brings the season’s most anticipated and exciting game, OU vs Texas.   It’s a great rivalry, a grudge match for the schools, and every year both cancel classes the day beforehand  so that students can drive to Dallas and watch the pageantry and festivities in the Cotton Bowl, surrounded by the Texas State Fair.   I have mixed feelings about it.  It’s a wild, wild adrenaline ride.   But, sports attract too much attention and praise, relative to the pitiful amount given to academia and research.  The coaches make so much money, making me painfully aware of how broke our academic departments are.  It makes me wonder if the priorities aren’t a bit twisted.   On the other hand, we all know what may happen if the University withdraws financial support  from its  sports programs. The TV revenues will drop, and the schools will have lower profits, resulting in even greater struggles for scientific research.  Having failed to solve this pressing problem of the universe,  I go back to food.  😉 … Ohhh, and I almost forgot: GO SOONERS!

Football food. Several classic options come to mind: hamburgers, grilled sausages, hot-dogs, one-pot type meals like… chili!  Once chili was mentioned, we reached a delightful agreement.  I modified a turkey version from  The Gourmet Cookbook, to showcase the colors of our team, crimson and cream.   It was like throwing a 98-yard touch down pass!

(adapted from Gourmet)

2 chipotle chilis in Adobe sauce (canned)
1/2 cup water
2 cans ( 15 oz each) diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 pounds ground turkey (dark meat or a 50/50 mix of dark & white)
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper, roasted, chopped
1 – 2 minced serrano peppers
1 Tbs cornmeal
1/2 can of white beans, rinsed (about 8 ounces)
fresh cilantro leaves, minced

Puree the canned chipotle beans with the water in a blender or small food processor, Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan, ad the shallot, saute for a couple of minutes, add the cumin, mix well and cook for another minute.  Add the ground turkey, increase the heat, and cook stirring often, until browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the chipotle puree, the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, oregano, and salt, and simmer without a lid for 1 hour.  If the level of liquid drops below the surface of the meat, add more water.   Add the red bell pepper, serrano chiles, and cornmeal, and continue simmering gently for another 30 minutes.

Stir the white beans into the mixture, discard the bay leaf, taste, adjust seasoning, and right before serving add as much cilantro as you like.  Serve with sour cream, sliced green onions, and shredded cheese on the side.


to print the recipe, click here

Compared to our default recipe for chili, this one is much easier to prepare, and – I cannot believe I’ll be saying this –  I like it even better!   It has beans in it, which would normally turn me off, I rather have my chili with meat and peppers only, in a tomato-base stew.  But, in this case, the beans added creaminess and flavor, perfect alongside the delicate turkey meat.  Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are simply too tasty.  If you haven’t cooked with them yet, grab some on your next stop at the grocery store and you will be going back for more…

Hope you are all having a great weekend, football or not on your menu…  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Get ready for a big spicy spoonful of  chili!  In the winter, give me chili with cornbread and cabernet; in the summer I’ll have chili with tortillas and tequila (or cold beer).  What a flavorful, succulent meal it is!   You’ll find chili everywhere, north, south, east and west; in cookbooks, food magazines and websites (like this one), with many of those authors claiming to divulge “the authentic” recipe.   Particularly in the Southern US, chili recipes provoke  discussions almost as heated as the peppers they contain.  But, I’m ready to jump into the fire, by sharing with you my husband’s favorite recipe.  It’s not the hottest or the spiciest chili you’ll find, but it’s meaty, delicious and the best  he’s ever encountered.  He made it for me for the first time when we started dating and we’ve cooked it together many, many times since then.


(from Bon Appetit, 1988)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 lbs stewing beef, chopped
2 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt), chopped
4 cans (14 1/2 ounce) stewed tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle pale ale (12 ounce)
7 Tbs chili powder
4 jalapeno chilies, seeded
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
Hot pepper sauce (Tabasco type), to taste

Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove vegetables using slotted spoon and set aside.

Increase heat to high. Add beef and pork; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Return vegetables to pot. Add tomatoes, ale, chili powder chilies, cayenne and cumin. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer 2 hours, adding reserved tomato liquid if chili appears dry. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Uncover and simmer until thickened and meat is tender, 2 more hours.

Season chili with hot pepper sauce. Serve with green onions, cheddar cheese, avocado and sour cream.

Makes at least 8 servings.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This favorite version of ours might very well be  “middle-of-the-road” in the debate about what should (or should not) be in a pot of chili. It doesn’t include beans, pleasing many, but it uses tomatoes, upsetting other purists.

We usually make it with  beef and pork, and we recently tried a mixture of lamb and pork.    We prefer this version, exactly as published 22 years ago (!!!) in Bon Appetit, by far. Some markets sell ground beef  for chili, but it’s better to buy a large cut of beef chuck,  some pork shoulder and cut them by hand into 3/4  inch cubes. The final texture is well worth the extra work.

Chili is ideal for entertaining, as it gets better when it sits in the fridge for a day.   Sometimes we make a full batch, enjoy “chili for two,” and save leftovers in the freezer for an encore another time.

This dish deserves recognition as a “Perfect Saturday Night Dinner” !


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