Alina's Buffalo Chili

My friend Blaire lent me this awesome cookbook (found here on Amazon) called the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook. It's full of "recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian." Super cool.

Marissa has been taking a class for the last few weeks that goes until 9 pm, and so she's been too busy to make and swap food. As such, I decided to make something spicy this week since Adam and I love spicy food but Marissa and Brad don't. I picked up some ground buffalo meat from the Madison downtown farmer's market. Buffalo meat is prized for its low-fat content and has a really great flavor. The result was this amazing chili.

Adam loved this chili. He initially ate three bowls of it and would have kept going if I wouldn't have reigned him in. All weekend he just wanted to eat the leftovers.
1 pm: "Isn't it time to eat dinner yet?"
2 pm: "Is it time for dinner now?! I want that chili!"
3:30 pm: "Okay, it's dinner time, right?"
5:30: "Yes!! Finally dinner time!!"

Makes 6 servings. 35 minutes prep time. 2 hours total.
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 pound ground buffalo meat
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
  • 1 or 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup beef stock, plus more if necessary
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup masa harina (this is corn flour, used to create corn tortillas. I found it at a Hispanic food store)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot heat the oil and cook the ground buffalo over medium heat. The buffalo meat I got at the farmer's market was about $7 a pound. Here it is:
I didn't care for the scent of the buffalo meat when it was raw, but once it cooked it smelled fine. You're shooting for the meat to be crumbly and well-browned, so break it up into little pieces as it cooks.
Add the onion, bell pepper, chilis, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garlic. Saute about 3 minutes. You want the onion to be translucent.
Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the beans, water, and stock. When I went to look for the beans, I found a surprise waiting for me in the cupboard. Silly Kenny!
Turn up the heat to bring your delicious concoction to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Gradually stir in the masa harina to thicken it. If it becomes too thick add more water or stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then simmer it for 15 more minutes. That's it!

The overall time required to make the chili is a little long, but this high-flavor chili is completely worth it. We will definitely be making this chili again!

Adam's taste rating: 5 ladles
Alina's taste rating: 4 ladles
Healthy rating: 3 ladles
Ease of prep rating: 3 ladles
Overall average: 3.75 ladles


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