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 SquashHands-on time: 40 min. Total time: 1 hr. 50 min.

2 dried ancho chiles2 cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson)1 (8-ounce) package fresh cremini mushroomsCooking spray1½ pounds 90% lean ground bison or ground sirloin1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided2 cups chopped onion1 cup chopped green bell pepper1 tablespoon minced garlic1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste1 tablespoon chili powder2 teaspoons dried oregano1 teaspoon ground coriander¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted1 (12-ounce) bottle dark Mexican beer1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes2 cups (½-inch) cubed peeled acorn squash1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained½ cup reduced-fat sour cream½ 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 126mgRecipe by Tiffany Vickers Davis