Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bison Red Wine Chili & Corn Bread

Although fall is in the air many of us are still dealing with the bounty of our summer gardens before said bounty spoils. I have been squeezing the modest output of my vegetable garden into every dinner I can. My kids have given up on not liking zucchini...its just too much work. This hearty chili is a slight twist on the family friendly version with a little red wine, a lot of zucchini, a little bison and mostly organic ingredients. Bison is delicious and tastes very much like what I feel good beef used to taste like. I am continuing to try and use only organic meat and as many other organic ingredients as my budget will allow. The cornbread recipe is simple and moist and requires no extras like cheese or peppers. It works well at sopping up the chili sauce.

Bison Red Wine Chili
  • 30 ml / 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 15 ml / 1 T of cumin,ground
  • 5 ml / 1 t of cinnamon, ground
  • a large pinch of dried chili flakes* You can be way more generous here depending on how spicy you like your chili.
  • 250 ml / 2 cups zucchini, diced
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 45 ml / 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 l / 4 cups tomatoes, peeled, large dice (I used fresh tomatoes from my garden and a friends)
  • 180 ml / 3/4 cup red wine
  • 540 ml /19 fl. oz red kidney beans,cooked and rinsed
  • 15 ml / 1 t olive oil
  • 250 g / 1/2 lb bison, ground
  • splash of red wine
In a large saucepan heat the oil on medium and then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have browned (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute stirring once or twice. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat. Then add the remaining vegetables and continue cooking until the zucchini and peppers are soft (about 7 minutes). Add the tomatoes, their juice and the wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour with the lid partially on the pot. Meanwhile in saute pan cook the ground bison in oil until the meat is no longer pink and there are some browned crispy bits. Add the bison to the chili. Deglaze the saute pan with a little red wine and scrap in whatever remains. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 1 hour more with the lid off. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with sour cream, cilantro sprigs and/or grated sharp cheddar.

I sprinkled dried ground chilies on my own plate because I have small children who cannot tolerate the spiciness yet, but feel free to be way more generous with the heat. I find ground chilies (which are just dried chilies ground in a coffee grinder), add a satisfying heat without the unwanted flavors of hot sauce.

Corn Bread
Adapted from The Hillybilly Housewife
  • 125 ml / 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 375 ml / 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used organic yogurt)
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml / 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 5 ml / 1 t salt
  • 250 ml / 1 cup cornmeal
  • 250 ml / 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 ml / 1 t baking soda
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Add a splash of the melted butter to a 23 cm /9 inch cast iron pan. In a large bowl whisk together first 4 ingredients. In another bowl whisk together remaining 4 dry ingredients. Fold the wet into the dry ingredients until just blended. Put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes and then carefully retrieve the pan from the oven and quickly add the corn bread batter to the pan. Return the pan to the oven and cook until center is slightly springy (about 20-25 minutes). Cut into wedges and serve warm as an accompaniment to the chili.

In the last few weeks 2 different friends have given me eggs from their hens. I have also received from friends: potatoes, sweet peppers, patty pan, cucumbers (mine were eaten by a ground hog), among many other vegetables. Knowing where your food comes from is truly inspiring and makes you take special care when preparing them. Speaking of inspiration here is another site: Chef2Chef that I have come to enjoy as well as an article forwarded to me by a friend that keeps me going on my renewed quest for better and healthier food.

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