Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet Recipes

Award Winning “Made in Manitoba” Chili

Make this chili one day in advance to allow the flavours to develop.

Award Winning « Made in Manitoba » Chili

Origin: The Forks National Historic Site
Region: Prairies (Manitoba)
Period: 20th Century - present
Course: Main Course

Historic drawing of 3 tomatoes Historic tomato illustration
© From The Victorian Garden, Tom Carter

One of the best things about working with Parks Canada is the many friendships that develop between colleagues. Often those friendships are coupled with the enjoyment of good food. Sharing food engages staff, brings people together, and ultimately sustains everyone during Canada’s long winter months.

At Parks Canada offices across the country there always seems to be some excuse to get together to eat—whether it’s a retirement, a new staff welcome, or simply that there hasn’t been a pot-luck in a while. There are birthday pot-lucks, Thanksgiving leftover pot-lucks, baby shower pot-lucks, and a whole other host of others.

This “Made in Manitoba” chilli, which uses predominantly ingredients found locally in Southern Manitoba, won the Blue Ribbon prize in the 2007 “Take the Chill Off” Chili Cook-Off hosted by Parks Canada staff.

Award Winning “Made in Manitoba” Chili


  • ¼ cup | 50 g dark chocolate, Morden's preferred, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bottle Fort Garry dark ale
  • 1½ lbs | 750 g ground bison
  • 5 slices | 125 g Old Country bacon, diced
  • 1 lb | 450 g yellow onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp | 10 ml ground cumin
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml ground coriander
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml cinnamon
  • 1 large 100 oz | 2.84 litre can tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 1 13 oz | 369 ml can tomato paste
  • Bothwell Red Hot Chili Pepper Jack cheese, grated for an optional topping


  • Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and chipotles (de-seeded and chopped, saving the sauce) and cook until onions are translucent. Add the cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Add the bison and brown. Deglaze the pan with beer, and then stir in the tomato ingredients and the adobo sauce. Bring to a boil; stir in the chocolate until it melts. Simmer for 3 hours. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  • The major ingredients − Morden’s chocolate, Fort Garry beer, bison meat, Old Country bacon − were chosen because they are local to Manitoba. Substitutions with your own local ingredients are strongly encouraged!


Recipe tested by Chef Scott Warrick, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

The original recipe was created by Eve Dutton of Parks Canada’s Manitoba Field Unit. She created it for the 2007 Manitoba Field Unit “Take the Chill Off” Chili Cook-Off in support of that year’s Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. It was adapted slightly for this app.

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