Bison Pumpkin Chili

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures after a long, hot summer. Plus, I’m a BIG fan of winter squash – butternut, acorn, buttercup, pumpkin – you name it! They are so versatile in recipes as they can lend both a savory and sweet kick to winter dishes. Fall also means warm, comforting soups, stews, braises and chilis. This recipe combines what I love about fall in one delicious pot. I’ve tinkered with this recipe over time and this version is one of the most successful I’ve tried. I use bison for this chili, which can be a little hard to find and a bit pricier, but it lends a rich, meaty flavor, without the extra saturated fat and calories of ground beef. Ground turkey is a great, healthy substitute too.

The pumpkin puree adds a really nice creamy component and gives the chili a whisper of fall. My garden is still producing oodles of green peppers so I added several of the long, thin Italian peppers, but bell peppers are easier to find at the markets or supermarkets.

With all of the added veggies, pumpkin and lower fat bison, this is a delicious, hearty and healthy recipe to start fall off on the right track.

Bison Pumpkin Chili

Serves 6

1 pound ground bison

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

7 small Italian peppers, or 3 large; mix of green and red, diced

2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, no salt added

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cups fresh pureed pumpkin)

1 cup frozen corn

1 bottle pumpkin beer (or regular beer)

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon oregano

3 tablespoons chili powder

Heat oil in heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the ground bison and brown the meat, about 6-8 minutes.


Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes. Put the rest of the ingredients in to the pot then reduce the heat to low.


Simmer for one hour and then taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately. If you wish, add a little sour cream or grated cheddar cheese before serving.


If you’d like to do this recipe in a crock pot, I recommend browning the meat in a pot or skillet first, then adding the onion and garlic, as directed above. Put that mix in the crock pot, then add the remaining ingredients. Heat on low for 8 hours.


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