Bacon Bison Butternut Squash Chili from the Caveman Feast App
We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance & details, even if it’s a simple dish. No different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
- Familiar Ingredients: butternut squash, bacon, red onion, jalapeños, garlic, tomatoes, sea salt, oregano, cumin, cayenne
- Not So Familiar Ingredients: bison, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil
- Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish: rimmed baking dish for the squash, large skillet or dutch oven for the chili
Apparently roast duck with mango salsa is not the only food our cavemen predecessors lived off of. Yes, yes, I’ve been exploring paleo eating. I know this can be a polarizing topic, but in the world of culinary delights, paleo’s got it going on as much as anything else. And perhaps Ringo Starr didn’t actually dine on roasted butternut squash, but hell, he could have.
This chili is the perfect dish for that first cool evening that beckons for warm, comforting food. The incorporation of apple cider vinegar and bacon makes this dish reminiscent of homemade baked beans. Plus the tang that the vinegar provides creates a very complimentary opposite to the sweet butternut squash. This dish is jalepeño heavy, but you can easily replace a few hot peppers with a red or yellow bell pepper if you want to mellow it out. Here’s a few more tips, then the recipe.
Bison – You don’t actually have to use bison (buffalo) in this recipe. Ground beef, or even turkey, will work. Do use ground meat though. I had some bison stew meat I opted to use instead of ground, and it was a bit tough. Ground will provide a better texture to the dish. BUT, the mister really enjoyed the chunks of stew meat. If you do opt for stew meat, consider cutting the larger chunks into smaller, bite sized pieces.
Coconut Oil – This product is very popular right now, due to it’s health benefits. And if you haven’t tried using it because you think it will make your food taste like coconut, you’re wrong. It doesn’t impart much flavor. AND, it’s a very stable fat to cook with, it oxidizes much slower than vegetable or seed oils (even EVOO). Less oxidation = less free radicals = healthier body. Nutrition lesson for the day done.
Jalepeño – Have to give the obligatory reminder to use gloves while prepping. You should know why by now.
Butternut Squash – These can be a bit of a pain to prep, but if you know what you’re doing it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Cut the ends off each end of the squash, so you have two flat surfaces. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (see above photo), then use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh, just like you would a pumpkin. Cut those segments in half, and then peel with a sharp knife, or serrated peeler.
Now, let’s make some chili.
Bison Bacon Butternut Squash Chili
- 1 lb ground bison or beef
- 1.5 lb butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1 red onion diced
- 3 jalepeños diced (seeds & ribs removed for less heat)
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the cubed butternut squash and melted coconut oil together and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. You can season with pepper if desired, but keep the salt to a minimum. The chili itself is pretty salty, so you don’t need much salt here. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat until crispy. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Add the bison to the bacon grease, and cook through. Once cooked, stir in the onion, garlic, and jalepeño. Cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne. Cook for a minute while stirring.
Crumble or chop the bacon and add it to the pan, along with the can of tomatoes (juice included) and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and continue to simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Dish into bowls and top with the roasted butternut squash. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Final Note: With richer meats, richer wines come into play. Don’t be afraid to pair this with something bigger, like a cabernet saugvinon, or perhaps even better, a darker beer (try Deschutes Black Butte Porter). Again, this recipe was sourced from the Caveman Feast App, which was created by Abel James, the Fat-Burning Man.
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to theprettyguineapig.com. She’s not sure how she’d feel about getting knocked over the head and dragged back to a cave. Not cool cavemen. For more MIFYD posts, click here.