Buffalo Chili

This post is long overdue РI made this recipe over a month ago and just never got around to blogging about it. But trust me, it will be worth the wait.

One of the guys my husband works with owns a bison farm – Jordan Valley Bison. Random, right? Well, a lot of people up here do farming, canning, or hunting of some sort – so I suppose in retrospect it’s not too strange. My husband & I are not hunters by any means, but I did start canning last summer; we also have a vegetable garden once again this year which I hope will be much more plentiful than last year’s.

We purchased some bison at our local farmer’s market and my husband made sure to say hello to his friend’s wife, as his friend was working at the foundry that morning. She had lots of great suggestions for how to use the bison that we were purchasing – and gave us probably 3 or 4 different recipes. We chose this one! ūüôā

Buffalo Chili – adapted from Jordan Valley Bison

  • 1 lb bison burger
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 peppers (red, yellow, orange or green)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dark chili powder (I used powdered smoked adobo chiles)
  • 2 tbsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 46 oz. tomato juice (low sodium)
  • 28 oz stewed tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 can light red kidney beans (drained & washed)
  • 1 can dark red kidney beants¬†(drained & washed)
  • 1 can black beans¬†(drained & washed)
  1. In a large stockpot, carmelize the onion & celery with a good splash of olive oil.
  2. Add the bison burger on top, flipping/mixing once, and breaking into smaller 1-inch chunks.
  3. Add garlic & peppers. Stir to combine.
  4. Add remaining ingredients & simmer for two hours on medium heat. Enjoy!
The photo is unappealing, but the flavor is delicious!

The photo is unappealing, but the flavor is delicious!

If you are not adverse to trying bison/buffalo, I highly recommend it. It has a bit of a gamier taste than beef, but is actually very lean. As you know, locally raised is definitely the way to go on this one ūüôā

We made this dish on a cold, chilly Sunday – and it really hit the spot! I liked how many vegetables were incorporated into this chili. It also made¬†a lot¬†of leftovers, which were great the next day or two for Mike’s lunches.

It’s really neat to be able to really KNOW where your food is coming from and to know the people who are taking care of food for you. The amount of local products (and the¬†quality!)¬†available up here in northern Michigan still astounds me – and I love it.

Hunter’s “Stoup”

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written a post!

Our Easter weekend was full of eating wonderful things, drinking wonderful things, and seeing wonderful people. ¬†I’ve been on spring break (it has been¬†glorious!) and have had the time to cook a bit more, too. Thus this week, we wanted to eat a few meals that were a bit more healthy for our waistlines.

I found this recipe in one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks that I occasionally sift through. After reading through the ingredients, I remembered that I had made this recipe before, when my husband & I were first married. It’s a great dish to serve, yet again, on a cold & snowy evening. And, wouldn’t you know it – it’s been snowing on and off all week up here in our neck of the woods.¬†Spring, where are you?!?!

Hunter’s Stoup – adapted from Rachael Ray

  • ¬†1 lb whole wheat penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 1.5 lb chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used red)
  • 2-4 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Romano cheese, to taste
  • parsley
  • crusty bread

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil pasta until al dente.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is slightly browned. Remove and reserve the meats on a paper towel-line

3. To the pot, add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook until the veggies soften; season with salt & pepper.

4. Add the red wine to the pan and let it simmer, deglazing the pan. Scrape the ‘browned bit’s off of the bottom. Then, add the tomatoes and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the reserved browned chicken and pancetta back to the pot and continue to cook for¬†5-10 minutes more so that the flavors combine.

5. Remember that pasta you were making? Drain the water off. While it’s still hot, place some into the bottom of your serving bowls. Pour a ladle of stoup on the pasta, followed by a sprinkling of Romano cheese and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Forgive the quality of this photo…

I really love the flavors in this dish. The pancetta (an ingredient that I don’t use often) adds a really nice, smoky depth. I made a lot of adaptations to this recipe based upon what I had on hand in my pantry,¬†such as¬†the tomatoes. You can also vary the amount of carrots you use in this dish, depending on if you’re a carrot fan or not. You could probably use celery as well, if you wanted.

Through using what I had on hand, I was able to determine that I successfully canned my diced tomatoes right ūüôā

Hopefully, this will be the last of the thicker soup/stew posts for the next couple weeks. I know that all of us up here in Michigan are very tired of the snow and cold weather and are praying for the weather to break. At least the fruit farmers & maple syrup makers are happy!

Think spring!!!!

Rich Chicken Noodle Soup

You know you’re ready for winter to be over when you think 40* is¬†warm…you start to look forward to yardwork…you get excited when you see seed packets at the grocery store…grilling¬†anything at this point sounds fantastic…you get the picture.

Needless to say I’m still relying on space heaters & comfort food to take the edge off of what feels like a very¬†long Michgan winter! But never fear – the days are getting longer, we spring ahead on Sunday, and before we know it, that gigantic pile of snow at the ends of our driveways will be history.

I like this chicken noodle soup recipe because it’s very simple. ¬†Chicken, carrots, onion, celery, herbs. The best part though, has to be the flavor; the use of miso adds a unique twist on an old favorite.¬†I’ve never used miso before in any dishes so I was curious to finally try it (I’ve never had miso soup, either). It adds some saltiness & depth to the broth and it’s really unlike any other chicken soup I’ve had before.

Because of my adaptations, I can’t call this recipe it’s original name – ¬†Rich Chicken Soup with Fresh Noodles. Thus I’m simply calling it, “Rich Chicken Noodle Soup”. I didn’t have the time to make some fresh noodles, so I just used leftover lasagna noodles taking up space in my cupboard (does anyone else out there always seem to end up with an odd number of lasagna noodles after they make lasagna?!)

Rich Chicken Noodle Soup – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 4 carrots, peeled & diagonally sliced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pkg fresh “poulry mix” herbs (if you cannot find this, put some dried thyme, rosemary, marjoram & sage in a tea ball to steep in the pot)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 of a boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 or 5 lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
  1. In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt & pepper. Add the chicken thighs to pan &  sauté until each side is browned. Remove chicken thighs & set aside.
  3. To the pot, add the vegetables and miso. Saute for about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine & cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, scraping the pan to remove the brown bits from the bottom.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and return to the pot. If using fresh herbs, tie twine around herbs to secure; if using a tea ball, use dried. Add herbs, stock, celery, and chicken breast to the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste, then the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Sadly, I did not capture a picture of this soup. I did, however, get a shot of one of my lovely assistants helping me blog this evening:

Hilo-Cat assisting me with posting on my 10-year-old laptop. Yes, you read that right.

As I said before, this is a great ‘twist’ on an old favorite, and I’m glad to add it to my arsenal of wintertime comfort foods.

Any certain soups or ‘wintery’ comfort foods that you can’t live without this time of year?

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The past two weeks, northern Michigan had been getting pummeled with snow & very cold temperatures (I’m feeling for you all in the Northeast, though – two feet of snow absolutely sucks wherever you live. Stay warm!). This soup is a week overdue, as both my husband and I were laid up with colds…and had I actually made this last week when we were sick, I bet we would’ve recovered quicker.

I like easy dinners on Friday nights; if Mike is home, it’s often out to happy hour for a drink & small plates to share. If he’s working, I often get lazy and order take-out. We were both exhausted yesterday after a very long week, and we didn’t feel like going out anywhere.¬†Thus, the soup. It only took about a half hour; five minutes of prep and 25 minutes of boiling/waiting.¬†The results were delicious and made great leftovers for today’s lunch.

Chicken Tortilla Soup – adapted from Rescue Chef

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • chili powder, paprika, & cumin – to taste
  • cilantro – to taste
  • Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, hot sauce, avocado, grilled tortilla strips, tortilla chips…you name it
  1. In a stockpot, heat oil. Add onions & cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Add chiles & garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add broth & vegetables, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer  & add the chicken breasts. Add spices (about a dash of each). Cook for about 20-25 minutes until fully cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken from soup & place on plate or small bowl. Shred chicken (I used two forks & shredded right away) and add back to stockpot.
  5. Add cilantro. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, then serve in bowls topped with cheese.
Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Had I not been as sleepy and lazy, I probably would have made a few quesadillas to go with this meal. You can also make this a meatless meal by adding black or pinto beans instead of the chicken.

The original recipe recommends topping with avocado and grilled tortilla strips. It also recommends adding lime juice to the soup. Next time I plan on at least having the limes handy – that would have made this soup even better. I added a cheddar-pepper jack cheese blend and hot sauce to my soup – I really wanted to have a spicy kick!

For a lazy Friday night (and Saturday morning), this soup really fit the bill. Especially if it’s *very* cold outside.

**This recipe was shared on Homemade Mondays, Week 16 at Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity**

Harvest Corn “Choup”

This was a great chowder/soup to make when it got all snowy outside. Mike is a big fan of corn, and chowder of any kind, so I knew that this would be an instant hit in our house. I vaguely remember making this dish the first winter we were married, and not being too impressed by it. I decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did – it really hit the spot & tasted great!

I used Rachael Ray’s cookbook, “Just in Time, for this recipe, and in proper Rachael Ray fashion, she calls this a ‘choup’, which is a combination of the words ‘chowder’ and ‘soup’. In my opinion, it’s more of a chowder ūüėČ

Harvest Corn “Choup” – adapted from Rachael Ray

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, center-cut
  • 1 medium onion, chopped well
  • 10 oz. frozen corn (a box will do)
  • 2 small zucchini, peeled & chopped
  • 1 lb. small potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (or more to taste)
  • salt & pepper, as you like
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 quart chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-n-half
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • oyster crackers or white cheddar popcorn (for topping purposes)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the edges crisp.
  2. Add the vegetables as you chop them, and stir to combine.  Add the bay leave, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes until the vegetables soften and the soup becomes very aromatic.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the pot, and stir for about a minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  4. When the soup begins to get thick, add the milk, half-&-half, and parsley. Let it simmer for about five minutes.
  5. Discard the bay leaf, and serve in bowls. Top with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, followed by crackers or popcorn on top.
Harvest Corn Choup, with croutons and Tabasco sauce

Harvest Corn Choup, with croutons and Tabasco sauce

As you can see from the picture,¬†I had neither crackers nor popcorn on hand, so I used some croutons that I had in my pantry. They were the fat-free ones too so they weren’t really seasoned (they suck on salads), and therefore simulated oyster crackers quite well.

The original recipe calls for heavy cream, but I found that just using half-&-half makes it nice and creamy, with fewer calories/fat. As far as the hot sauce is concerned, it adds some flavor, more than anything, so if you really, really don’t like hot sauce, you can omit. I found Tabasco to be an appropriate addition! ūüôā

This soup reheats quite well, and is a great wintertime dish. Enjoy!