Spicy Bison Sweet Potato Chili

I've said it before: I rarely make the same pot of chili twice. I'm always tinkering and experimenting and rarely use an exact recipe. I can't leave it alone. I just have to mess with it, all in the pursuit of the ultimate chili recipe. 

All messing aside, I was a huge fan of our last chili recipe (Carolina Touchdown Chili), but when I read a new recipe for spicy venison chili with sweet potatoes on a Whole30 recipe site, I knew the Fat Loss Foodies recipe box needed a version of it! 

I didn't have venison readily available (okay that's a lie. I never have venison readily available and don't buy it), so I used ground bison. You can use ground beef, but ground bison is such a great protein choice and one that's often overlooked. 

I made several other changes to the original recipe:

  • Reducing the amount of bacon. The original recipe called for HALF A POUND?! That's a little much...am I right?
  • Cooking the sweet potatoes separately. The original recipe said to chop the sweet potatoes and put them in uncooked, then cook the chili for TEN HOURS. I'm sorry. I ain't got time for that. 
  • I added half a habanero pepper at the end of cooking time in the slow cooker. My husband likes REALLY spicy food. Also, "Rambo" was on TV, so I don't know, I was feeling like a bad ass or something. I added it in and MAN! Half a habanero, very finely minced, can light up a whole pot of chili really quick! As the chili cooks, it loses the heat and mellows out significantly. Go ahead - play with a little fire. It builds character;) 

Enjoy a big bowl of this high-protein, high-fiber smoky/sweet chili and be sure to let us know how you like it! 


2 lbs. ground bison

2 pieces bacon, chopped

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 large bell pepper, diced

2 jalapeño peppers, diced (seeds optional)

1 habanero pepper, minced (optional)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 Tbs. chipotle chili powder

1 Tbs. smoked paprika

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper


1. Place a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pot and set aside to cool. When cool, chop roughly. 

2. To the same pot, add onion, garlic, jalapeños, and bell pepper and cook until tender.

3. Add ground bison and break up with a wooded spoon, cooking until browned (about 10 minutes.)

4.  Deglaze pot with vinegar and scrape up brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

5. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until they can be pierced with a fork. Strain and set aside.

5. Transfer cooked bison-vegetable mixture to a slow cooker and set on medium heat. Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bacon, and spices. Cook until heated through and flavors meld. 

Optional: For optimal mouth-melting heat, add half of a habanero pepper (finely minced) at the end, shortly before serving.