A Sweet Little Chili

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This is a sweet little chili, perfect to warm the hearts of your loved ones on Valentine’s Day. If you make Indian curries, you will recognize some of the palette of spices used.


Main Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground bison, ground turkey or hamburger or try the vegetarian option*
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced green bell pepper or 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 15 0z can black beans, red kidney beans, or pinto beans


  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons ground red chile powder (to taste)


1. Using a heavy bottomed pot or large skillet, heat the oil briefly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is just softened.

2. Add the ground meat to the onions and garlic. Break it up into bite-sized pieces with a spatula or metal spoon. Stir every few minutes to turn the meat, and cook until browned.

3. Add the tomatoes and the spices. Fill each tomato can with water and add that as well (total of two cans water). Bring to boiling, then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer at least 15 minutes and up to an hour. The longer you simmer, the more mixed and complex the flavor.

4. Dice the green pepper. Add the green pepper or canned green chiles. Drain the canned beans and add those as well. Simmer at least another 15 minutes, or up to 1/2 hour longer.

You could also add chopped carrots and zucchini to the onions in the first step, for an even sweeter chili.

Serve with cornbread, corn chips or a nice green salad.

*Vegetarian option:
If you choose, this recipe is easy to make vegetarian. Instead of adding ground meat, skip step 2. Add fresh kernel or frozen corn and another can of drained beans in step 4. I recommend mixing beans, such as 1 can black and 1 can red kidney, or 1 can pinto and 1 can cranberry beans, for additional complexity of flavor.


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