Bold Bison Chili
It seems that winter will be persisting a little longer and since it’s National Chili Day, I thought I’d share another one of our cold-weather favorites. Apparently some people don’t like beans in their chili. I don’t happen to be one of those people, but I do like to experiment with new textures and flavors. This all-beef, no-bean chili is all-flavor thanks to the added appeal from a seasonal winter vegetable. I just love the versatility and taste of butternut squash, in everything from lasagna, to ravioli and risotto. I purposely kept the spice level low on this chili so kids can enjoy it too, but feel free to amp up the heat! Sweet squash loves the contrast of spices and smoke so an extra chipotle or two will only make it better. And by the way, plan ahead for leftovers because it only gets better after the complex blend of flavors have had a chance to meld.
Suggested Wine Pairings
The smokiness and subtle heat in this chili call for a fruit-forward medium to full bodied bright wine with medium tannins. Bison and other gamey meats are bold and distinctive so you’ll want a wine to match. If you prefer red wines, try a Grenache, Malbec, Rioja, Zinfandel or my personal favorite a blend from the Southern Rhône. If you’re a white wine lover, look for a full bodied Chardonnay, Viognier or Italian Vernaccia to stand up to this bold and flavorful chili. If you do decide to amp up the heat, you’ll want a softer wine to balance it like a fruity Beaujolais or Bardolino.