Super Bowl | Bison Chili with an Italian Twist

bison chili

Bison Chili

Are you looking for something different and delicious for your Super Bowl party this year? How about a nutritious hot dish that’s easy to cook and leaves you plenty of time to enjoy the Big Game? I’m suggesting chili, but not just any old chili. Oh no. I’m talking about a hearty all-American bison chili with an Italian twist.  This is a recipe that is sure to please. In fact, it’s so good that you just might have to block and tackle your friends and family from eating it all before the Super Bowl kicks-off!

For those of you who are not familiar with bison, it is simply delicious, lower in fat and tastes better than the best cut of beef you’ve ever had! It is highly nutritious and is very high in iron.  Bison meat is also a great alternative for those looking for a tasty, healthier substitute for beef.

I’ve never tried making bison chili before, but since the meat is so very lean I thought it would be a somewhat healthier version of a traditional beef chili and a perfect dish to serve for Super Bowl Sunday. For an Italian touch, I added some delicious, Cremini mushrooms, fennel and topped it with some velvety Taleggio cheese.

If you are looking for a chili with a twist for your Big Game Day, this delectable Bison chili is for you!

Bison Chili:


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, covered with water by 2 inches and left to soak 2-3 hours
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, washed and cut in 3 pieces
  • 6 juniper berries, wrapped in cheese cloth and tied closed ( optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and medium diced
  • ½ pound Cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and julienned
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground bison, browned and drained
  • 6 green jalapeño  peppers, seeded and diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 slices of Taleggio cheese
  • 5 scallions, cut on the bias
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking the black-eyed peas:


  • Drain the black-eyed peas from the soaking water and rinse them under cold running water in a colander.
  • Place them in a large stock pot with the carrots, celery, onion, juniper berries, bay leaves, and water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer until peas are tender.  This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours so check often.
  • Drain the peas and remove the vegetable pieces and all other aromatics.  Place the drained peas in a pot large enough to make the chili.
  • In a large sauté pan, add some vegetable oil and brown off the bison meat.
  • Once the meat has browned, add all the spices and the jalapeño.  Stir through the meat thoroughly. Let cook an additional 2 minutes, then season lightly with salt and drain the meat in a colander to remove excess fat. Once drained, add the bison meat to the pot with the black-eyed peas.
  • Return the sauté pan to the stove and add a little more olive oil to the pan, if needed. Sauté the shallots, garlic, fennel and mushrooms. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes while scraping up all the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan. Then blot out any excess fat and add all to the large pot with the peas.
  • Add the beef stock to the pot and stir all ingredients well.
  • Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat.
  • Let simmer uncovered for 35-45 minutes, or until the chili has thickened and developed a nice flavor.
  • At the last 10 minutes of cooking add the squash and the thyme and stir through.
  • Just before serving add the butter and incorporate well.
  • Taste for seasoning, adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. If you like it spicy hot, add some more ground chili pepper to taste.

To serve:

  • Ladle the chili into serving bowls.  Top with a nice slice of Taleggio cheese and broil in your oven for 3-6 minutes, just until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble.
  • You can garnish with a little extra sliced fennel, diced squash and sprinkle with the sliced scallions.

Serve immediately while piping hot!