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Bison, Pumpkin And Lentil Chili

In addition to the three marquee ingredients, coffee adds some zing to this chili.

buffalo chili

This is a wonderful winter dish that you can make ahead and eat for several days. It’s great on its own but also nice as a Sloppy Joe or Pita Pocket sandwich. Try it on grilled sausages or over pasta, or serve it with my Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits.

Bison is a rich, dark, almost burgundy-looking meat. It’s very lean, learner than turkey in fact.

And then the Columbus Cowboy in me comes out — this recipe incorporates coffee. I like to use coffee in chilis, stews and red-eye gravy.

Bison, Pumpkin And Lentil Chili


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • 2 cups washed green lentils
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup sorghum
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sweet Season Spice Blend
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Aux Poivres Spice Blend
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • Assorted garnishes in bowls: diced red onions, scallions, pesto laced sour cream, grated cheddar or goat cheese

Cooking Directions

  1. Brown bison in canola oil with chopped onions, peppers, carrots and minced garlic in heavy soup pot.
  2. Cook until vegetables are lightly caramelized and tender. Add coffee, spices and lentils.
  3. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until lentils are almost tender (20 min).
  4. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree and sorghum. Cook another hour or so.
  5. Top with diced red onions, scallions, pesto laced sour cream, grated cheddar or goat cheese.

This recipe uses the Sweet Season Spice Blend and the Aux Poivres Spice Blend.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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