Buffalo Bill Chili



Buffalo Bill Chili

Using buffalo meat in chili reminds us that this is the quintessential food of the American West. For today’s cook, buffalo is leaner than beef and provides a robust flavor that stands up well to the spices and chilies in this rustic chili. For variety, mix and match your favorite beans to enhance the appearance, or add another layer of flavor by substituting dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo, for the beef stock.

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground buffalo meat
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped  
  • 1 Poblano or Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped (optional; Anaheim is less spicy)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seed if you don’t like it hot)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (7 ounce) chipotle sauce OR 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 bunch spring onions, green parts only, sliced in rounds, for garnish (opt)
  • sprigs of cilantro, chopped for garnish (opt)

In a medium sized pot (about 4 quart capacity) with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat and add ground buffalo to brown, breaking large chunks into smaller ones. Cook for about 5 minutes or until all meat is browned. Remove from pot, and discard excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot.

Bring back to medium heat, add onions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and Poblano or Anaheim (if using) pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, scraping bottom from time to time to get all the browned bits of meat folded in with the vegetables. Add the jalapeno pepper, cook for another 3 minutes stirring from time to time. Add garlic, cook for another minute and then add cumin, oregano, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Let spices cook for another minute, stirring.

Return the cooked meat. Stir in the tomatoes and beef broth, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce and bay leaf, stir and raise heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to a slow simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes. Add beans, continue simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes or until beans are warmed through.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.

Recipe Variation:
To add a smoky depth of flavor, you can roast the Poblano or Anaheim pepper before adding. Using tongs, hold the pepper over a high heat gas flame, charring all over for about five minutes. You want the pepper skin to have a very dark color on all sides. When done, place in an airtight container and let stand to “sweat” for about five minutes. Using plastic gloves to protect your fingers, rub the skin off and discard. Open the pepper and remove veins and seeds and discard the top or stem. Chop and add to recipe along with the jalapeno pepper.

Nutrition Info

Per serving (13 oz/381g-wt.): 340 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 35g protein, 35g total carbohydrate (10g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 55mg cholesterol, 900mg sodium



This is great served with corn chips and/or cornbread.

Why buffalo meat?  It’s less fat and cholesterol than regular beef. 


One thought on “Buffalo Bill Chili

  1. I went looking for Buffalo meat here yesterday and was only able to get some of the Buffalo burgers for our camping trip. I need to find some Buffalo!!! This chili sounds fab!

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