January 20, 2014

Bison, squash, and kidney bean chili

Sadly, I've missed a couple weeks this year of the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash -- but I made sure to be back for Week 12! For the last week I'm featuring one of our favorite winter meals and one of our favorite ways to use up winter squash -- a spicy, smoky, yet sweet chili (from the squash). We like to use ground bison in this chili, but you could use beef or turkey if you prefer (or if you can't find bison). For this version I used a kabocha squash, but sugar/pie pumpkin, butternut squash, or any other dense/sweet winter squash would work. As with most chili recipes, it is very adaptable. This dish is hearty and perfect for a winter evening. This recipe will serve about five to six people.

Before I get to the recipe, I'd like to announce the two winners of the Ceylon cinnamon giveaway! I used the random number generator to chose the two winner from the comments. The winners are: Krystal Fisher (comment 30) and Annie Levay-Krause (comment 17). Please email me at savorymomentsblog[at]gmail[dot]com with your mailing address no later than Wednesday, January 22, 2014. I hope you enjoy your cinnamon (which I used again in this chili!) and thanks to everyone who entered!

Bison, squash, and kidney bean chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced with greens reserved for garnish
1 lb. ground bison
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced, plus sauce to taste
1 jar (15-16 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 small kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 cans (15-16 oz.) kidney beans, drained

In a soup/stock pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Stir in the bison, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through. Then stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper. Cook until fragrant.

Stir in the chipotle pepper, tomatoes, and squash. Let it come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook until hot. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed and add some of the chipotle sauce to taste (if desired).

Serve hot topped with the sliced scallion greens. Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

What was I cooking one year ago?: Italian spaghetti squash bake
Two years ago?: potato and cheddar pierogi
Three?: cashew chicken korma
4?: Matcha tea leaf shortbread cookies


  1. I see some gorgeous chili in my future. I don't think I'll find bison in Australia but I'll do my best!

  2. Your chilli looks delicious! I could sub with ground beef I guess.

  3. Yeah!!!!! Oh the possibilities!
    Thank you!

  4. This sounds like a real American chili. Bison, squash and beans. What a combo!

  5. Wow! I bet this taste as good as it looks ! Bookmarking this recipe & will try it sonn as we can still get bison here . Thanks for sharing this recipe . ;)

  6. Nice chili Amy, I yet have to cook bison...this chili looks so flavorful...like the idea of squash in it.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

  7. This is one fine chili! Squash makes it even better!

  8. seems tast and kick'in spicy....
    never made chili with kabocha pumpkin before, tempting to try!

  9. I love a good chili, and I think adding bison sounds great! I don't cook with that often enough. This is perfect for the snowy weather we've been having lately - yum!

  10. I love this! I use sweet potatoes in chili all the time, but rarely squash. I gotta do that! And I've never used bison in chili -- sounds wonderful. Thanks so much.

  11. I love the flavor combinations here---lovely with the bison, too!

  12. Now I want chili!! I wish this would appear in front of my face right now ;)

  13. Looks absolutely wonderful! I love bison! It is such a great alternative to beef!

  14. What a spicy bowl full of delicious comfort! I haven't tried bison yet but am feeling braver and braver. . . ;-) I love squash in chili too!

  15. It's been seriously cold here and this looks like just the kind of chili I need to warm me up! Thanks so much for participating in the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash this year!!

  16. Well, I just happened to stumble over to your blog and I really liked it.I love chili, so this recipe is drawing me to the kitchen to try it ASAP!

  17. Yeah! Kabocha squash! And I like how you combine it with kidney beans :) Very nutritious.

  18. This sounds awesome! I love the sweetness winter squash adds to dishes! Perfect for a chilly night :)

  19. This looks like a very unique version of chili. I've been wanting to cook with bison more often. Actually, I've only cooked with it once- made burgers.


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