Chile con carne: Authentic Buffalo Chili

If you’ve never tried buffalo, I highly recommend testing it out – nutritionally, it is lower in calories but higher in protein compared to other meats/poultry. It is mild but with a distinctive taste. Also, you can readily find grass-fed bison which are raised in pastures and contain high levels of beta-carotene and CLA. Actually, try to go only with grass-fed bison if possible because nutritionally and taste-wise studies show it to be a lot better than grain-fed bison.

Now … this is an authentic Southwestern chile con carne recipe that is spicy, extremely flavorful, and has a great meaty, rich texture. For the red chile and oregano I suggest a Mexican ground variety – you can usually find in the Hispanic section of the grocery.  To make things easier, measure & combine all the spices in a bowl and have the vegetables chopped before starting to cook. Serve with a variety of garnishments and enjoy!


  • 3 lb. coarsely ground grass-fed buffalo (bison)
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno chiles, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mild, pure powered red chile
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tbsp. cornmeal
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • S/P
  • Garnishment options: sour cream, scallions, tomatoes, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and lime.


  1. Cook the bison in a large skillet, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and seasoning lightly with salt. Cook about 12-15 minutes until gray and cooked through. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, fry the bacon, stirring often until lightly browned. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook for another 10 minutes, covered, until tender but not browned. Add the spices and stir constantly for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
  3. Gradually stir in the stock, then add the tomatoes and bison. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and cook stirring occasionally until it has thickened and the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
  4. The chili can be served immediately but it will improve in flavor if cooled, covered and refrigerated overnight. Either way, proceed with the next step before serving.
  5. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the chili, then stir it in. Stir in the beans and heat through. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with garnishments.

Serves: 8

Recipe Source: Williams-Sonoma Savoring Soups & Salads

Time: 3 hours