Anasazi Cowboy Chili with Bison & Nopales

Yield 6-8
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 1 pound Anasazi beans
  • 1 1/2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Ground Bison Meat
  • 1 jalapeño chile pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon good-quality chile powder, such as chipotle
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup lager beer
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (optional)
  • 2 nopales paddles, prepared and cooked
  • Crème fraîche
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Scallions, sliced, white and pale green parts
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
Recipe notes
Combine heirloom Anasazi beans with bison meat in this recipe for a hearty and spicy chili with a uniquely North American flavor.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Soak beans overnight in water at room temperature.
  2. After soaking, put the beans in a large pot with their soaking water and enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Add one-third of the onions and half of the chopped garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are nearly done, about 1 hour. Season with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the meat, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until the meat loses all of its pink color and begins to brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off most of the fat.
  4. Add the remaining onions and garlic and the chile, and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pot. Add the cumin, oregano, chile powder, tomatoes, and beer and return the meat to the pot. Add the beans and their broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the flavors are blended and the beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper and more chile powder if needed.
  5. If you’d like a thicker chili, dissolve the masa harina in 1/2 cup water, stirring well to eliminate lumps. Stir the paste into the chili, add the nopales, adjust the seasonings, and cook for 10 minutes. Ladle the chili into warmed bowls. Pass the sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, and cilantro at the table.

CHEF'S NOTE: Any of the pinto beans will work nicely in this chili, as will Vallarta, yellow Indian woman, or black beans.