In my new book Laramie Moon, which will release in October, Alpha Werewolf Jim Winter owns a large ranch in Eastern Wyoming near Laramie. He raises cattle, bison, and a hybrid called beefalo. Jim has ranch hands (both Were and human) who live at the ranch and a ranch house cook whose mainstay meals are meatloaf, burgers, eggs, and chili. So I thought I’d cook up a batch of Winter Ranch Chili and share the recipe with you.
If you haven’t used it before, beefalo is generally lower in fat, more nutritious, higher in protein and more flavorful than commercial beef. Much of it is naturally grown and grass fed. If beefalo is not available, you can use ½ beef and ½ grassfed bison.
Winter Ranch Beefalo Chili
Use 2 lbs. of coarsely ground or chopped beefalo, or 1 lb. ground beef (chili grind) and 1 lb.
grassfed bison, ground or chopped
Brown the meat in 2 T vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium heat until
it is no longer pink. Break up clumps with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile chop one medium-large onion, 1 red or green sweet pepper, and 2-3 cloves of garlic.
When the meat is fully browned, add about 2 C of chopped onion. (You’ll want to reserve some to serve on top of the finished chili.) Also add the chopped pepper (about 1 ½ C) and the chopped garlic. Cook it with the meat until the veggies are soft and the onion is translucent. If it looks like you have a lot of grease in the pan, you can drain off some of the grease at this point.
Next add two 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes with the liquid. I like to add 1 can of plain tomatoes and 1 can with diced green chilis. I like my chili chunky, but if you like it smoother, you could add tomato sauce instead.
Stir in the tomatoes and add spices. I use about 2 T chili powder, 1 ½ - 2 T ground cumin, 1 T oregano (I used Mexican oregano and crumbled it in), 1 T paprika, 1 T salt, and ¼ t cayenne. I like my chili flavorful and a little spicy but not blow-the-roof-off-your-mouth hot. I particularly like the cumin flavor. That’s what says chili to me.
You’ll want to add more liquid as this is going to be simmering for a long time. You can add about 2 C of water, beer, tomato juice or a combination. You could even sneak in a little tequila if you like. I like the water/beer combo myself as I get to drink the leftover beer while I wait for the chili to cook down.
Cover the pot and turn it down to simmer. You could also put the whole thing in a crock pot on low and leave for the day. I like to simmer it for at least 2-4 hours, stirring and adding liquid if it gets too thick.
I also add beans for about the last hour. I use pre-cooked, drained pinto beans or drained and rinsed canned pinto or red kidney beans (about 2 cans). Chili purists say no beans, but I was raised on chili with beans and that’s how I like it.
Theoretically you cook it and let it cool down, refrigerate it overnight to let it season, and serve it the next day, but my family never lets me put it off for another day. If they smell it cooking, they want to eat it.
When it’s ready, which is pretty much anytime you’re ready to serve it, adjust the seasonings. Use more cayenne to add heat. If it’s too thin, you can thicken it by making a slurry of masa flour or plain flour with a little water and adding it for the last few minutes.
Serve your chili with chopped onion and grated cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream, a few thin jalapeno slices and a sprinkling of roughly chopped cilantro, or just eat it plain.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you enjoy it, check back into the blog over the next weeks for more Winter Ranch recipes.
I write fantasy and paranormal romance. I love having the ability to create new worlds and new histories. My first book LARAMIE MOON will be coming out soon, so stay tuned.