Is there anything more delicious than a steaming hot spicy bowl of chili?!? I sure don’t think so! This past weekend we were in the grips of some of the coldest and nastiest weather of the year so far. The weather folks call it the Polar Vortex. I think they just call it that because the FCC frowns on cursing on live television and vortex could, if enunciated properly, almost sound like a curse word! The wind was howling, snow was falling heavily, and the air temps were plunging to the teens below zero…which meant the windchill factor was around a vortexing negative 40 degrees. There’s really no way to deal with weather like that except to stay inside if possible, watch Netflix, and spend time in the kitchen!
My daughter is home from college for the holidays and she loves chili! I like to think that it’s MY chili she especially loves, so even if I’m being delusional I’m going to keep on believing it’s the truth! Anyway…knowing Anna would be home, and having heard the forecast, I picked up some ground bison and all the other ingredients to make a huge pot of Polar Vortex Bison Chili in the slow cooker.
I feel like chili is one of those recipes that is very personal, and everybody already has their favorite version, but I always like to tweak mine just a little here or there so we don’t get bored with the same old-same old chili! To this pot I chose to use ground bison instead of beef because I really just prefer the bison for it’s flavor and healthfulness. I used a large can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, a minced jalapeño, a couple chopped up chipotles in adobo, spicy V8 juice, and chili powder for different levels and intensities of spiciness. Aside from those ingredients, I also included a large diced onion, a big ‘ol can of chili beans, a little extra cumin to enhance the smokiness of the chipotles and chili powder, and a generous portion of chopped garlic! Throw in a little salt and pepper to taste, simmer it slow and low all day long, and 8 hours later…your patience is rewarded with the best bowl of chili you’ve ever tasted!
I suggest serving the chili with some kind of bread – I made cornbread muffins shaped like mini bundt cakes. That little depression in the center is perfect for corralling the honey I drizzle on mine. Biscuits are another family favorite to accompany chili! Toppings for the chili might include shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapeños, crackers or tortilla chips ~ this is completely a personal preference!
Next time you make a pot of chili try mixing it up a little with a few different ingredients – starting with this recipe and taking it from there! Go ahead…make your family the best vortexing pot of chili to ever come from your kitchen! 😉
Polar Vortex Bison Chili
Take your chili game to the next level with this recipe for Polar Vortex Bison Chili!
Last week I was talking turkey……burgers that is! 😉 But today is all about Bison Burgers. When I changed my lifestyle from a diet to a live-it, I chose to stop eating red meat….with one exception….BISON!!! Have you ever tried bison meat? We are fortunate to have a local rancher who raises a herd of grass fed, free roaming, antibiotic and hormone free bison, and makes the meat available at a few places around the area. I always get mine at our local farmers market! Bison meat is unlike other red meat in that it is extremely lean, and actually even healthier than salmon is in almost every regard! And of course, it delicious!
Bison is lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef, chicken, pork, and salmon. I find that pretty impressive! Because of the leanness of bison, you’ll find it will cook faster than beef and you’ll want to only cook ground bison to medium, or 155-160 degrees. Any higher temp and you run the risk of drying out the meat. The flavor is similar to beef, but richer, with a hint of sweetness. I like the flavor so much that I don’t do much to the burgers before I cook them. I just add a few finely minced onions or shallots, some mushrooms, finely diced, a dash of worchesteshire sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt & pepper, and a splash of bourbon! Then onto a medium heat grill they go, and in just a few minutes…your tastebuds will be doing a happy dance!
Tip: Just like with the turkey burgers, the finely diced mushrooms do little to change the flavor profile, but they do help prevent the burgers from becoming dried out. As for the bourbon….the alcohol will cook out during grilling, and you’ll just be left with that certain little something that’ll keep your guests guessing what your secret ingredient is!
But don’t forget…I’m calling these Triple B Burgers, so if Bison is the first “B”, we’ve still got 2 more to talk about! The second “B” is for bourbon sauce! I really hope you’re as excited about this as I am! I’m not a fan of beer or wine, but I do love me a good bourbon! For the sauce I combined my favorite bourbon from Cedar Ridge Distillery (also right here in Eastern Iowa), worchesteshire sauce, beef stock, garlic, salt & pepper, and chile spiced honey. I combined all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmered it on low heat until it was reduced by about 75%. The result is rich and unbelievably delicious, and oh so good drizzled on a grilled bison burger the last couple minutes before it comes off the grill! (It also happens to be pretty darn good on grilled chicken too).
The final “B” is for blue cheese…some tangy creamy blue cheese crumbles are just what’s needed to top off this burger in style! Blue cheese is a classic paired with beef burgers, so I just knew these bison burgers NEEDED blue cheese as a contrast to the rich meat and bourbon sauce!
And just because I’m not very good at stopping when enough is enough, I’m also slathering the bun for this killer burger with homemade horseradish mayonnaise! A little mayo goes a long way, so not to worry about the fat content here! Plus when you make it from scratch, you are in total control of the ingredients, and for me, that’s as much a component of healthy living as the actual nutritional values of a food. Besides – it’s not like you’re going to eat it everyday, or by the spoonfuls when you do, so relax! If you take the time to make it yourself and you know exactly what’s in it, then go ahead – live a little!
Are you getting the picture? This is not your ordinary burger! The bison is so much better for you than beef, the bourbon sauce is decadent and rich, the blue cheese is tangy and creamy, and the horseradish mayo ties it all together! And by now you’re probably asking how can this possibly meet the Cook Eat Be Healthy standard?!? The real rock star here is the bison! Otherwise using only small amounts of the other ingredients are what works to make it a healthy option! Of course you could opt to add any of your favorite burger topping as well. Personally I’m thinking a little thinly sliced red onion wouldn’t hurt my feelings any! 😉 And if you’re like me and you skip the bun (or use a Sandwich Thin), you’ll save lots of calories and carbs that way!
Triple 'B' Burgers
A satisfying and decadently delicious grilled Bison burger....perfect for Father's Day, or any day you're craving a healthier grilled burger!
Heat gas grill to medium, or prepare charcol grill for grilling burgers.
Place all burger ingredients in a large bowl and combine until everything is just incorporated. You may find your hands are the best tools for this job.
Separate mixture into 4 equal portions and form into thick patties.
Place patties on pre-heated grill and cook 8-10 on the first side, then flip the burgers and continue grilling until the temperature, measured by a meat thermometer poked into the center of a pattie, measures 155-160.
During the last couple minutes of grilling drizzle each burger with a teaspoon of Bourbon Sauce.
To assemble burgers
Slather each bun bottom with horseradish mayo.
Top with burger, blue cheese crumbles, and red onion.
Place other half of bun on top, cut in half, and dig in!
Do not overcook these burgers. If you cook them to the well done stage like hamburgers, you'll be disappointed by how dry they become.
Because of the leaness of the Bison meat these burgers will cook faster than hamburgers, so keep an eye on them and adjust cooking time accordingly, taking into account varying grilling temperatures.
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
A rich and flavorful sauce perfect for grilled burgers, chicken, and other meats!
In bowl of 8-10 cup food processor combine egg, salt, dry mustard, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Process a few second until well blended.
SLOWLY drizzle in remaining 1 cup olive oil until it's all incorporated and mayo is emulsified.
Blend in lemon juice and any other optional add-ins as desired.
All mayo ingredients must be at room temperature. Remember to remove your egg from the refrigerator at least 6 hours prior to using. You can leave it on the counter overnight as well.
Drizzling the final 1 cup olive oil must be done VERY SLOWLY! Failing to do so will result in a gloppy mess, so patience is a virtue when making homemade mayo!
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
So there you have it! This is the answer to the dilemma of what to make Dad for Father’s Day dinner this year! A burger so satisfying and decadently delicious that only you will know how much better it is for your family than the usual barbecue burger fare!