Spicy, smoky, & slightly-sweet, this easy Slow Cooker Bison Chili is magic in a bowl. It is also Paleo, gluten-free, and Whole30 (sub beef broth for red wine & skip the 1 tsp beef bouillon). This chili has nice flavorful “kick” to it, for all you spice-lovers out there! (& for the spice-haters, simply reduce amount of spicy ingredients called for, and enjoy!)
- 24 oz bison stew meat/chunks
- 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, & diced into thick chunks
- 1 jalapeno, seeded & minced (optional)
- 1 fresh diced green bell pepper + 1 diced yellow onion, OR can use (1) 12 oz bag frozen bell peppers/onions blend instead (do not thaw)
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- (2) 8 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (only slightly drained)
- 2 chipotles in adobo, minced, plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp beef bouillon (if following Whole30, skip this ingredient)
- 1 tbsp chili powder (use less if you want a milder chili)
- 2 tsp roasted cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1.5 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine (if following Whole30, replace with beef broth)
- 2 bay leaves
- Quickly brown the bison on stovetop first (optional, but worth it). Brown meat on all sides in ghee or olive oil, approximately 6-7 minutes total. Tip: add an extra 1-2 shakes of chili powder at the start to help lock some flavor in meat.
- Add browed bison to a slow cooker or crockpot that has been sprayed with oil. Dump all remaining ingredients over top. If desired, add any additional seasonings to taste. Stir to combine. If you prefer a “soupier” chili, add more beef broth to the slow cooker until desired consistency.
- Cover slow cooker and heat on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 6 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.
- For bison meat: We used (2) 12 oz. packages of the brand Simple Truth Bison Stew Meat, which is already cut into chunks. (Just clarifying that it is not ground bison). But I’m sure you could easily sub ground bison, following same steps (browning meat a bit before throwing in crockpot), though I have not tried it that way yet.
- For sweet potatoes: we leave them unpeeled in this recipe, because they hold their shape much better after hours of sweating in a crockpot. They are also easier to cut, and less prep work which is an added bonus. Since we leave them unpeeled, we recommend buying organic sweet potatoes for this.
- Slicing the sweet potatoes: bigger chunks= better. (Because tender sweet potatoes are good. And mushy, disintegrating sweet potatoes are bad.) The 1st time I made this, I cut mine too small & had mushy taters. 2nd time I made this, I chopped much bigger chunks and they were tender-perfect. To slice: Cut into THICK slices, then halve & quarter them at most.
- For serving: We recommend serving it with a squirt of lemon juice on top (sounds weird but it’s good, try it!), sliced avocado, and cheddar cheese if not following Paleo or Whole30 diet. If chili ends up too spicy, add a dollop of plain yogurt to mellow it out.
- For presentation: The pretty green/orange/yellow bell peppers turn into red bell peppers after bathing in this tomatoe-y chipotle-y chili-to-be for hours. If you want a more colorful final dish, save a few of the frozen bell peppers when adding ingredients to pot. Keep frozen until serving, then toss a few directly on top of each chili bowl. They add the color back immediately & incorporate in seconds (with no adverse effect on taste). & they cool your chili down a smidge, so you can dive in quicker!