Bison chili plated in a bowl with cheddar cheese and hot sauce

Creamy Pumpkin Bison Chili

This is not one of those recipes that shoves pumpkin into the mix because it’s “trendy”. In fact, you can barely taste the pumpkin… it only lends a subtle sweetness while acting as a thickener, making this bison chili my personal favorite chili.

Before we get into it I’m well aware the word “chili” is a trigger, quickly spinning folks into a frenzy of feeling personally attacked if the wrong bean, meat, broth, tomato, or topping is used. Like the entirety of a culture and family history is at stake if you make it different from their momma.

I can guarantee my recipe will raise eyebrows and cause inner turmoil. Not because it’s anything crazy unique or because I’ll be suggesting caviar as a topping… but because it’s mine. A dish I love to prepare that’s probably different then the way you might prefer to prepare it. That’s the beauty of trying new to you recipes though, isn’t it? There’s always a new perspective, flavor profile, ingredient combo, and spice choices to explore. I know that several of my chili experiences have led me here, to this pumpkin bison chili. A pot of delicious I could seriously eat all week long with no regrets.

Creamy Pumpkin Bison Chili

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Susanna Grace Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

401

kcal
Total time

45

minutes

Thick, meaty, and spice to perfection, my pumpkin bison chili might just be your new favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Bison, ground

  • 1 can Kidney beans, or bean of choice (rinsed and drained)

  • 1 small to med Yellow onion, diced

  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 Green bell pepper, diced

  • 2 14.5 oz Canned Tomatoes, diced

  • 6 cups Beef broth (Bison broth if available)

  • 1.5 teaspoon Cumin

  • 1.5 teaspoon Hot chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon Paprika

  • Salt + Ground Black Pepper to taste

  • 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 Cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

  • 1 can Pumpkin purée

Directions

  • Place your large pot or dutch oven on low heat while you begin chopping and dicing your veggies.
  • One all of your veg is prepared, start with a little big of oil (I used olive) in the bottom of your pot and add the diced onion. Allow to cook through for about 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Next, add your garlic and mix until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add your ground bison in and season with cumin, hot chili powder, paprika, salt and black pepper and combine as the meat begins browning.
  • Add in your red and green bell pepper, can of diced tomatoes, broth, kidney beans, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Stir.
  • Bring to a boil and then turn to medium low, covered for 30 minutes. Off heat, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf then stir in your pumpkin purée.
  • For an even thicker chili, after 30 mins of simmering with the cover on, continue to simmer for an additional 30 with the cover off. Do not add your pumpkin in until you are ready to serve. Let’s be real. Sure, you can have good tasting chili in 30… but great tasting chili needs some time to hang out. I’ve simmered my pot for up to 2 hours. 
  • Top with any additional items like a squirt of lime juice, sour cream, chives, avocado, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce. Talk about a power house combo right there! 

Notes

  • I generally prefer thicker soups and chilis, so if you’re like me, it’s almost always a good idea to add fewer cups of broth at the beginning and add more towards the end. Much easier to thin a soup or chili then it is to thicken it up!
  • Can’t find bison? Or maybe it’s just not affordable in your area? Ground beef works just as well here. Go extra crazy and do a 50/50 split of ground beef and ground pork if you’re up for it.
  • Not a big beans fan? Leave em out. No big. I’ve had this chili both ways and it’s just as great. Once, I even added rice… and guess what. It was still great!
  • I just gave you my favorite topping combo, but sometimes some shredded cheddar and hot sauce is all I’m feeling. Have fun with the ingredients you have on hand… which might include pickled jalapeños, Fritos, cilantro, Greek yogurt, cornbread crumbles- you get the idea here. As long as you love it, there’s not a wrong way to dress up your bowl. #facts 
  • Please note the nutritional information below was calculated using a calculator designed by: Verywell Fit. This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but should not be taken as medical advice 🙂 

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Nutrition Facts

8 servings per container


Calories401

  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 10.8g 17%
    • Saturated Fat 4.2g 22%
  • Cholesterol 47mg 16%
  • Sodium 634mg 27%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 32mg 1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 46.4g 16%
    • Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
    • Sugars 8.2g
  • Protein 31.3g 63%
  • Calcium 8%
  • Iron 41%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

The History of Chili

The history of any food group or recipe can be debated until the end of time. Regardless of all that it’s still fun to drop down the rabbit hole and investigate along the way. Several resources I’ve found seem to point to a group of immigrants from the Canary Islands in the 1730s (colonized by Spain at the time). You can read all about the chili timeline from origin to our tables today right here. I know I thoroughly enjoyed the read!

Let Me Know

What type of toppings or sides do you love with chili? Are you a team add beans or team anti bean? If you have any tips or tricks or a family favorite meat, bean, noodle, whatever… go ahead and drop it below. My guess is there will be a ton of fun combos for us all to be inspired by 🙂

And if you happen to be looking for a fun dessert to pair with this recipe… I’m gonna go ahead and recommend my S’mores Skillet. For a drink… my Old Fashioned would HIT the spot. Just like that, you’ve got a delicious menu complete with cocktails, main meal, and dessert!

While you’re at the sharing and commenting, please Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. I need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical beats perfect- and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy.

Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~

2 Comments

  1. Lora Hamilton

    This. Chili. This is now my go to chili recipe for cold days!! The flavor is incredible and the pumpkin purée adds the perfect touch of creaminess without overpowering. I used black beans instead of kidney beans and let it simmer all afternoon because that’s what you do with chili!! Will be making this again and again and again.

    • You feel about this chili the way I feel about this chili!! And black beans are a wonderful addition, I’ll be giving them a try next time. Cheers to big bowls of creamy goodness all winter long 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, I so appreciate it! XO Susanna

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