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Buffalo Chili

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 10 to 12
Total Time 2 hours


My new favorite chili recipe combines elements of other favorites, namely my dad’s and the black-bean chili published in Deborah Madison’s The Greens Cookbook. If you are not serving a crowd, the large amount guarantees a container or two for the freezer.


~ Vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks (or 1 bell pepper), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground buffalo (see Note)
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice
8 cups cooked pinto or black beans, with cooking broth (or water)
1 to 2 Tbsp. chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
~ Salt
~ Sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, chopped white onions, and tortilla chips, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a large, heavy pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in celery (or bell pepper) and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Push the vegetables to the outside edge of the pot and place the ground meat in the middle. With the end of the spoon, break up the meat and cook for several minutes, occasionally flipping the meat over to brown the other side, until the meat is no longer pink.
  3. Stir the vegetables into the meat, adding extra oil if the meat is beginning to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the chili powder, paprika, and cumin, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice, the cooked beans and the bean broth, and, if necessary, extra water to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan. (Add as much water as you like, depending on how thick or soupy you like your chili.)
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then cook, partially covered, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if the chili begins to stick. Add chipotles and season to taste with salt. Serve hot, with sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, chopped white onions, and tortilla chips, if desired.


“Buffalo meat” in the U.S. comes from the American bison.

Feel free to add more chipotles if you like your chili spicy.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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Average Rating 4
50% recommend this recipe
1. by anonymous on Jan 27, 2008 at 5:23 PM PST
Rating: four

this chili is delicious! i have to admit that i altered it a bit. i only used three cans of beans and i drained and rinsed them before i added them (cuts down on the gas-factor). also, i added 1TB of peanut butter at the end of step 2, to give it a little rich thickening (what i thought the bean water was going for). highly recommended.

2. by Carrie Floyd on Jan 28, 2008 at 10:20 PM PST

Peanut butter?! Why, I never! Can you taste the peanuts? Another way to thicken the chili would be to take out a couple cups of the beans, mash with a potato-masher, then stir the mashed beans back into the pot of chili.
Thanks for the comment.

3. by Marilyn Noble on Dec 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM PST

I just made a batch of buffalo chili the other night. I used organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes, left out the cumin, and used green pepper and celery. It was great. We almost never eat beef any more -- buffalo is much healthier and tastes better, and for chili it’s great because it’s not greasy.

4. by anonymous on Dec 9, 2009 at 12:30 PM PST

Believe it or not, to add nutrition and “thickening” to chili, you can add pumpkin straight from the can. I buy organic canned pumpkin, just plain ol’ pumpkin, not the kind that says “ready for pies”. I learned this trick a long time ago and it really fortifies your chili and makes it very creamy. I swear, no one will ever guess or know it’s in there. Use as little, or as much as you like. Try it!! : )

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