Autumn Bounty + Our Chili Cook-Off Winner


On a Saturday with sunny skies and perfectly crisp air, terrain at Styer's celebrated harvest season at the annual Autumn Bounty Festival. Visitors enjoyed a full day of fall events including pumpkin carving, crafts for kids, a marketplace of our favorite local makers, and brunch with Seven Spoons author Tara O'Brady. A highlight of the afternoon was the staff chili cook-off, where attendees could sample eight recipes from terrain chefs. Logistics Administrator Erika B. was our chili champion, and she shared her recipe for a sweet and spicy bowl made with bison, garden-fresh peppers, and a hint of maple syrup. Take a peek, above, at some of our favorite moments from the day, and read on for Erika's recipe.

Erika's Sweet & Spicy Bison Chili
(adapted from Food Enthusiasm)

3-6 slices thick cut hickory smoked bacon
2 large yellow onions
1 large green pepper/sweet pepper (Erika says: I used what was left of my "Candy Apple" peppers that hadn't quite turned red yet)
2-3 jalapenos
1 lb. lean ground bison (or ground beef)
1 lb. lean stew bison (or beef)
1 14-16oz. can pinto beans
1 14-16oz. can red kidney beans
1 14-16oz. can black beans
1-2 cups corn 
24-32oz. crushed tomatoes
24-32oz. fire roasted, diced tomatoes 
1 cup reduced sodium beef stock
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic 
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 Tablespoons chili powder 
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
Hot sauce to taste (Erika recommends cayenne or smoky chipotle)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup Grade A dark amber maple syrup (Canadian preferably!)

Note: For spicier chili, cook on the stove; for milder, cook in a crock pot. Chop bacon into 1" pieces. Dice onions and peppers, leaving seeds in jalapenos. In a large pan over medium heat, add bacon and cook for a few minutes, then add onions and peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until softened. Set mixture aside in a large pot or crock pot. Brown ground beef lightly with 1 Tablespoon garlic powder and 2 Tablespoons onion powder. Add ground beef and stew beef to pot. Drain and rise beans, add to pot. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Cook over low heat or in the crock pot for 4 hours, keeping heat even so stew beef will shred easily. If cooking on the stove, you may need to cut the beef into smaller pieces or pull it apart while cooking. Taste after 3 hours and flavor with additional liquid smoke and syrup as desired. Serve with maple syrup on the side!

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