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Feasts Under $5: Bison Chili with Mushrooms

November 28, 2011

I’ve heard that Bison meat is healthier than beef, and according to this chart, that’s pretty accurate. (Note: it is also healthier than turkey, and a nice change if you are sick of Thanksgiving leftovers.) Bison is leaner than beef, with more protein but fewer calories, and less cholesterol – and it is almost identical in taste. So why not use it all the time? Because Bison is pricey. One pound retails for $9.99, while the same amount of high quality ground beef goes for $7.00 or less. You probably don’t want to spring for Bison burgers at your next cookout, but an easy and price-conscious way to try it is in this chili. It’s spicy but not hot, and the bison, vegetables, and lack of added fat keep it quite healthy (especially if you don’t add the cheese and sour cream). It might not be winning contests anytime soon, but it’s still worth trying.

Bison Chili with Mushrooms

1 lb ground bison: $9.99
1/2 cup chopped red onion: $.50
1 green pepper, chopped: $.65
3 cloves garlic, chopped: pantry staple
4 oz mixed mushrooms (bella, shitake, crimini, trumpet, etc.): $3.99
1 jar chipotle in adobo – finely chop one chipotle and use 2 tsp of sauce from can: $1.99
15oz can black beans, drained: $.89
28 oz can crushed tomatoes: $1.99
1 1/2 cups beef broth: $1.99
1 tbsp chili powder: pantry staple
1 tbsp cumin: pantry staple
1 tbsp brown sugar: pantry staple
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese: $3

1 cup sour cream: $2.00
Total cost: (without optional ingredients): $21.99 or $5.49

Brown beef in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Because the Bison is so lean you may need to add a tbsp or two of olive oil, but if you use low enough heat you should be ok. When meat is still slightly pink, add mushrooms, garlic, onion, and green pepper, cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black beans and tomatoes, stir, simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add beef broth, spices, and chipotle/sauce, bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar until incorporated. (If you think you don’t need the brown sugar, you’re wrong- you need it. It cuts the spice and adds just the right amount of sweetness). Simmer over low heat for at least one hour. Voila!

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