I'd been trying to figure what I wanted to do with a 2-lb brick of ground buffalo from Trader Joe's. It hit me this weekend that chili would be ideal. I pulled out my various bean jars and did a custom blend of about every bean I had, plus some garbanzos. There is everything from Christmas limas to Anisazi beans in there. So, I soaked the beans, then put them into the crockpot with various fixin's. My chili never turns the same twice. I used some crushed dunnicuts, some aleppo, some "Texas" chili powder, some ancho, and a sprinkle of chipotle. Raided the herb patch, put in garlic, various spices, red wine vinegar, molassas, even a splash of soy. After a couple hours of the beans in the pot, I cooked the buffalo at a slowly in cast iron with an onion, until the buffalo was cooked and the onions carmelized, then added it in, and let it do the crockpot thing. I had a bag of sundried tomatos, so I threw a few of those, coarsely chopped, in as well. I know, chili isn't supposed to have tomatos. Well, in a lot of ways, these aren't what you think of as tomatos. They turn out more like putting in dried fruit, and you bite into them and never taste tomato. It's similar to the raisins in my tamales. They don't count, because they are not going to puree--they stay as bites of "fruit." It gives an interesting finish.
I tasted it at noon today, and it's divine alchemy. Easily one of the best chilis I've turned out. Too bad I will never be able to exactly reproduce it. ;-) But that's the way it goes, with the way I cook. But wow, buffalo is on my list as the best meat for chili, now, too!