Bison Joes with Roasted Bell Peppers

Roasted bell peppers and ground bison combined with freshly baked buns for a memorable version of an America Classic.

One of the challenges of living hundreds of miles beyond the road system is that we frequently can’t get the ingredients we want for cooking. With the school year rapidly drawing to a close (fewer than eight weeks remain now) and an abundance of ground bison in our freezer, Barbra had been requesting Sloppy Joes. “I’ll make the buns!” she promised. Problem is, the village store hasn’t had onions since early January. The last shipment was frozen solid and had to be tossed out. We’re out as well, and I couldn’t quite imagine Sloppy Joes without diced sweet onions mixed in with the meat and sauce.

And then, out of the blue, a friend gave us two green bell peppers. Roasted and skin peeled, these would provide the tangy sweetness I was looking for. I had a large carrot in the fridge that needed to be used, so I diced and sautéed it and added it to the ingredients as well.

Mixed together with an off-the-cuff sauce, our Bison Joe’s came out great – more savory than sloppy, and sweet enough to please the kid in us.

Bison Joes with Roasted Bell Peppers


  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 bell peppers, cut in half, stems and seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 cup Sloppy Joe sauce (below)
Directions for roasting bell peppers:
  1. Place a baking sheet (a good, thick one is best) into oven and preheat to 500 °F.
  2. Using a brush, spray bottle or fingers, thoroughly cover bell pepper halves with light olive oil, canola oil or other oil that will withstand high temperatures.
  3. When oven is preheated, place bell peppers open side down on baking sheet. Roast until peppers soften, skin begins to loosen, and outside begins to brown. Turn the peppers over and continue to roast until desired color is achieved. (You will see at least some spots burned black. How much of this you want is up to you. I go for just a little black.)
  4. Remove peppers from baking sheet, place in paper bag and close. This will help steam the skins loose.
  5. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin.
  6. Dice the peppers (about 1/4″ pieces) and set aside.
Directions for bison, carrots and garlic:
  1. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add ground bison. Breaking up the meat and stirring, cook until evenly browned. Pour out on paper towels to drain off oil and fat and set aside.
  2. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat over medium to medium-low heat. Add carrots, stirring frequently. Just before done, add the garlic and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Place in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Sloppy Joe Sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Cholula sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • couple dashes powdered cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • several grinds freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Add all ingredients to a non-reactive bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the garlic and carrots (above). Add the bell peppers. Add additional chili powder, cumin or Cholula for more of a kick.
  2. Place the browned bison in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat and add enough sauce to coat the meat. Beyond that, how much sauce to add is a matter of cook’s choice. Mix thoroughly, cooking and stirring till everything is hot.

Serve on toasted buns or toasted bread with a frosty mug of root beer.

Spicy Chicken Farfalle Soup

A hot bowl of spicy chicken and bow tie soup is just the thing on a cold January day.

We’re both fans of Southwestern style rubs. Penzey Spices makes a good one, as does Dean & Deluca. I’m sure there are others. I whipped up this wonderfully spicy chicken noodle soup using leftover chicken thighs I’d rubbed and broiled for last night’s dinner. Vary your ingredients according to how much chicken you have on hand and what’s in your pantry. By the way, if you haven’t tried Better Than Bouillon brand, it really is–better than bouillon. Much better. In addition to plain chicken and beef, they make 42 other styles of soup base including a lobster base that is absolutely delicious.


  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs rubbed with Southwestern-style seasoning and broiled
  • sweet onions, chopped coarse
  • carrots, chopped coarse
  • celery, chopped coarse
  • sweet corn
  • garlic, chopped coarse
  • Kalamata olives, chopped coarse
  • sun-dried tomatoes, chopped coarse
  • mushrooms, chopped coarse
  • fresh bow tie (or other) pasta
  • Cholula sauce
  • Better Than Bouillon, chicken flavor
  • olive oil
  • Italian herbs (fresh or dried)
  • smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (If I had fresh, hot red peppers, I would have used them)

1. Cut chicken into small pieces and set aside.

2. Place enough water in a pot to cover the ingredients. Add bouillon and bring to a boil.

3. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add chopped vegetables, starting with the carrots and onions as they require more cooking time. Add Italian herbs and stir in well. After two or three minutes, add celery, olives, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until onions are just turning translucent and carrots and celery are just barely crunchy.

4. Add sautéed vegetables to boiling water. Add chicken, Cholula sauce to taste, a few grinds of pepper and the smoked sea salt.

5. Add fresh pasta and continue boiling till just done. (If using store-bought pasta, it is better to add it to the boiling water before adding the other ingredients to cook it to desired tenderness without overcooking the vegetables.)

6. Serve piping hot.