Cocoa Bison Chili

I know what your thinking: “Cocoa in chili? That’s a little too odd for me…” (Or maybe you’re thinking the opposite, which in this case is very good!) The cocoa give this chili a depth of richness that you’ve never tasted before. It’s kind of like a Mexican hot chocolate, where you get the rich cocoa flavour, while also tasting a lingering chili kick in the background. Incredible, I tell you!DSCN0469

I used ground Bison from Thundering Ground Bison Ranch. They consistently have great product so you can’t go wrong with them! I absolutely love the lean, meaty flavour of Bison. I also found out recently that Bison is higher in protein than beef. Check out this nifty infographic:

Health Benefits of Grass Fed Bison Infographic by EPIC - Order EPIC bars at

Cool, eh?


For this recipe, I decided to include a buttercup squash from our garden to add a bit of creaminess. DSCN0472

First things first, I browned the ground Bison. I used my cast iron pot to add some extra iron to our diets (another nifty thing I learned recently!)DSCN0473

I peeled and diced up the squash. DSCN0474

Then I chopped up all the veggies (onion, celery and peppers).DSCN0475

Here are all the spices I used: Chili powder, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder. The combination made my house smell outstanding!!DSCN0476

In went the veggies and seasoning.DSCN0477

And then I stirred it all up.DSCN0478

I diced up some fresh tomatoes from the garden. DSCN0479

I added the tomatoes and some beef stock to the chili. DSCN0480

Then I let it simmer and bubble for an hour on the stove. DSCN0482

You can serve it plain.DSCN0483Or you can top it with some aged cheddar for some extra decadence!

Cocoa Bison Chili

You will need:

  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1 squash, peeled and cubed.
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 sweet bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 heaping Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or about a cup of fresh diced)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 c. beef broth

Begin by browning the Bison in a large cast-iron pot with a tsp veggie oil. Peel and cut your squash then add to the pot. Chop up all your veggies, add to the pot, and then add your spices. Mix thoroughly. Add your tomatoes, beans and broth. Simmer on low for at least an hour (the longer, the better!). Serve warm with aged cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired. Enjoy on a crisp fall evening.


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