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What To Cook Right Now: A Healthy Chili

Could there be any food more perfect this time of year than meaty, hearty chili—made light for the new year? Here's a new take on the classic, amped up with rich ground bison in place of ground beef (but use beef if you can't find the bison) and chunks of sweet acorn squash. A secret ingredient—cremini mushrooms—goes into the pot for one more layer of deep flavor. Recipe here and below.

Bison Chili with Chickpeas and Acorn Squash Hands-on time: 40 min. Total time: 1 hr. 50 min.

2 dried ancho chiles 2 cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson) 1 (8-ounce) package fresh cremini mushrooms Cooking spray 1½ pounds 90% lean ground bison or ground sirloin 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided 2 cups chopped onion 1 cup chopped green bell pepper 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground coriander ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted 1 (12-ounce) bottle dark Mexican beer 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 2 cups (½-inch) cubed peeled acorn squash 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine chiles and stock in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 3 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove stems. Combine chile mixture and mushrooms in a blender; process until smooth.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bison, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove bison from pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chili powder, oregano, coriander, and cumin; sauté 30 seconds. Return bison to pan. Stir in beer; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in mushroom mixture and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in squash and chickpeas; simmer 45 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Top with sour cream and parsley.

SERVES 8 (serving size: about 1½ cups chili, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and 1 tablespoon parsley)

CALORIES 295; FAT 9.3g (sat 3.8g, mono 3g, poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 24.3g; CARB 29.4g; FIBER 6.5g; CHOL 53mg; IRON 5.8mg; SODIUM 518mg; CALC 126mg

Recipe by Tiffany Vickers Davis