30. Barrington Eats: BIG GAME XLVIII Chili Cookoff

3 mins read
Big Game Chili Cookoff

The NFL’s Big Game is just hours away, with the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks preparing to meet at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.  For many, this day is all about football, halftime shows and watching the year’s best commercials.  For others, like me, it’s a great excuse to cook my family’s latest favorite chili recipes!

Big Game Chili Cookoff
Big Game Chili Cookoff

In honor of the teams facing off, one from wilderness country and the other from the coast, we have two chili recipes for you to pit against one another to see which one takes home the trophy.  Barrington’s own Heinen’s Grocery has the area’s freshest selection of seafood, ground beef and leaner meats like bison.

Ground Bison Available at Heinen's Grocery in Barrington
Ground Bison Available at Heinen’s Grocery in Barrington

So Heinen’s ingredients also inspired these two game-day recipes for your football watching parties or to warm up during what’s left of our “polar vortex” winter.


Denver Broncos Bison Chili

Cooking bison is not as tricky as some might think. Game has a reputation for being tough. But bison is one of the leanest game meats and is a recommended alternative to ground beef over at Heinen’s, according to the manager of the store’s meat department, Shirley Richards.  “Bison is low in fat and it tastes a lot like beef but it’s much more dense because it’s so lean with little marbling and it’s very good.  You could broil it or grill it just like you would any kind of steak and our ground bison makes delicious burgers and chili!”

Heinen's Meat Department Manager, Shirley Richards, says ground bison is a great substitute for ground beef
Heinen’s Meat Department Manager, Shirley Richards, says ground bison is a great substitute for ground beef

This hearty chili uses a unique combination of beans, flavorful chorizo and healthy vegetables that make it a well-rounded, tender feast. As with any chili, this recipe is flexible. You can leave out the squash if you don’t have it, don’t want it, or simply hate cutting it (though it’s yummy). Or you can substitute sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, acorn squash, zucchini… or a whole plethora of ingredients that you may prefer/have on hand at home. And for the beans you can substitute black beans, navy beans or pretty much any other sturdy bean. As long as you have enough liquid, and a good ratio of meats to
veggies, chili can be extremely flexible.


2 pounds ground bison (or other meat)
2 teaspoons seasoned or other salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pound chorizo sausage (hot or mild your preference)
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups vegetable, chicken or beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with liquids
2 cans (14 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans garbanzo beans (14 oz), drained and rinsed


Add meat to a large pot, and season with all seasonings and spices.
Cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add squash and onion, and continue cooking until meat is browned and vegetables are soft.
Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add beans and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Our second competitor, Seattle, is one of the greatest seafood ports of our country. If you love fresh fish, you’ve got to someday visit Pike Place Market.

Photo from Facebook.com/PublicMarketCenter
Photo from Facebook.com/PublicMarketCenter

If you’re not planning a visit to Seattle any time soon, you can try this great seafood chili recipe for a taste of your future trip to Pike’s Market.  (photo courtesy of facebook.com/publicmarketcenter)

Seahawks Seafood Chili


1 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon crumbled dried
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chipolte pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1 -14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 to 2 cups kidney beans and/or black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 pound canned or fresh minced clams, drained
1/2 pound shrimp meat, diced
1/2 pound sea scallops, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into quarters


Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and chipotle pepper.
Lower the heat to medium low and saute, stirring often, until the onions and peppers are soft.
Add the wine, turn up to medium high, and stir until most of it evaporates, about 2 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes and beans, turn the heat down to medium and simmer gently, covered, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the seafood and cook just 5 minutes more.



About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

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