Bison Versatility

This morning I had to chortle as I read an article speaking to a Velveeta shortage.  Good old supply and demand. Apparently some are in the throes of meltdowns about this shocking news. While I am not a regular purveyor of this item, I know very well its potential. Velveeta can make for some mean dishes. A dear friend of mine made a phenomenal dip at her annual ornament swap this past December. It was eyed, enjoyed and devoured in record time. I believe the magnificent concoction comprised sausage, Rotel and the ever famous, orange stuff. Paired with finger licking, salty Fritos, this dish was exceptional.

Those distraught about this dearth will have to revert to the drawing boards and contingent upon timing, possibly devise alternatives for their Superbowl Sunday fare. I think this can be achieved in three weeks time but this remains to be seen. I must admit, this news left me quite mystified. I know Velveeta is perfect for a myriad of dishes but with a bit of creativity, imagination and slight elbow grease, cooks in the kitchen can move around obstacle this until their beloved packaged dairy is back on the shelves and available for oozing goodness once again.

To coincide with this past weekend’s spectacular football viewing, I planned to make bison meatloaf for the Sunday evening game. In line with the elimination routine, it was a real bear finding a recipe that didn’t call for tomatoes or breadcrumbs. When I finally did find one, I knew we had mission complete. That is until 5.00 pm rolled around and I realized I didn’t have anything of appropriate size in which to bake the bliming thing. Party foul. We quickly reverted to the drawing boards and assessed the situation. Meat, beans, greens, stock and spices. Bison chili was the solution and honestly, it fit the bill for Sunday night football better than any meatloaf could have.

Don’t be discouraged to deviate from the path. You alternative might very well find itself in first place.

Bison Chili


Extra virgin olive oil
1.5 lb of ground bison – Check out the butchers of Earth Fare or Whole Foods
1 punnet of mushrooms
4 cups of kale
4 cups of chicken stock – I used this in place of our usual 2 cans of diced, low sodium tomatoes
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS good quality maple syrup
Kosher salt

Pull it together

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic in your Cuisinart and set aside. Finely chop the mushrooms in your Cuisinart and set aside. Finely chop the kale in your Cuisinart and set aside. Exhale as you are now finished with this step. Note this can all also be done by hand!

2. In your Dutch oven or a big pot, heat 2 TBS olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Let them cook until they become translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes or so. Give it a stir every now and then.

3. Add the ground meat and give the pot a generous stir.  Please add a couple of pinches of kosher salt as well as all the spices.  Turn up the heat to high. Now you want to brown the meat. You do not want to see any pink once we are set and done.  Stir regularly.  

4. Once the meat has browned and is cooked, lower the temperature back down to medium high heat and add the mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and chicken stock. Continue to stir for approximately five minutes or so.

5. Now add the beans and kale. Give another generous stir and let cook for five minutes. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. You know your taste buds best so if you want more than 1 tsp of something, go for it!

6. Bring the mixture to a boil and then drop the heat to low. Put the top on and simmer for another half hour to 45 minutes. You can even stretch it to an hour if you want to. As always, taste and adjust spices if necessary.

7. I served ours with chopped avocado and hot sauce for the man. Cilantro was also available. As always, cheese, sour cream and other goodies also suit chili beautifully.

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