Chili Tonight


             There are quite a few ways to ward off the cold artic blasts of winter. Several suggestions are: long underwear, hot water bottles, hot toddies, hard liquor, electric blankets, soup, or a big steaming bowl of “HOT” chili.

            Not surprisingly I get quite a few requests for a “good” chili recipe this sub zero, way too much snow and ice for a normal human being to have to deal with, time of year. While I can honestly assure my readers that I would never knowingly pass on a “bad” chili recipe preferences need to be taken into account in regards to the beans vs no beans camps and those who feel that it isn’t really chili if the peppers added aren’t hot enough to sear flesh or require medical treatment for 2nd and 3rd degree burns on your tongue.

            There is no one true recipe for chili, just variations on a theme. The first printed “chili” recipes appeared in West Texas at around the turn of the century.  Supposedly modified from an old Mexican recipe it probably got its start because of the availability of indigenous spices. It consisted of beef, cumin, pepper, sugar, paprika, garlic, and masa (corn meal) to thicken.  Tomatoes were usually not available and chili powder didn’t exist at that time. The original cooks used dried chilis and didn’t use beans because they took too much time to soak and cook.

Preparing chili these days has evolved and regional preferences are so ubiquitous and contentious that there are cook offs and contests all around the country to find the best of the best chili recipe. Preparing chili is, at best, a personal thing. The ground beef versus chunks, pork versus beef, pinto versus kidney beans, beans versus no beans, red chili or green chili combinations are limitless and each recipe will have its own fans. The only way to tell which one is right for you is to try them all. Good luck and keep a fire extinguisher handy

Actually, you’ll need a glass of milk or some other dairy product and not water to cut the hot of the chili peppers. Water just spreads the oil from the chili’s around, milk products put out the fire.


Chipotle chili powder to taste
2 tablespoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
3 to 4 tablespoon water

4 strips bacon
one 2 1/2 pound chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced

1 14 oz can whole tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh is best
1 teaspoon sugar

1 14 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in a couple tablespoons of water

Grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion for garnish optional

In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, thyme, and ground coriander seeds. Mix in water so that chili forms a light paste. Set aside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet on medium high heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat from the pan into a separate container, reserve. When the bacon cools, crumble it into smaller pieces and set aside. Increase heat to medium high, add back in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides, lightly salting as you cook the beef. Remove beef from pan, set aside. Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Into a 6-quart thick-bottomed Dutch oven, put onion chili mixture, beef, bacon, tomatoes (break up the whole tomatoes with your fingers as you put them in the pot), water, lime juice and sugar. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer. Mix the cornstarch powder into a little water to dissolve the corn starch (otherwise you’ll have lumps to deal with) and add to the chili to thicken it. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice you may need a little more sugar to bring the stew to balance. At this point you can also add a little more chili powder if you desire more heat. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Carl Oberson Chicago IL


You can make this easy crock pot chili with ground turkey or ground beef.

1 pound ground turkey or ground beef

1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with juice

1 can (16 ounces) pinto beans, drained, rinsed

1/2 cup chunky salsa, mild or hot

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons sliced black olives

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground turkey and onion. Drain off excess fat. Transfer browned mixture to the crockpot with tomatoes, beans, salsa, chili powder, and cumin. Stir gently to blend ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 5 to 6 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little shredded cheese and black olive slices.
Serves 4.


Taste and check the heat of the jalapenos. If very hot only use one, if mildly hot, use two. Wash hands with soap and water after handling.

1 1-pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

olive oil

2 yellow onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium zucchini, diced

2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, diced

1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, finely minced

1 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

1 to 2 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 1/2 cup cooked white beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

zest of one lemon

3 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 350. Place cubed eggplant into small, shallow roasting pan. Toss with 2 Tablespoon olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven, set aside. Heat 3 Tablespoon olive oil on medium heat in a 5 to 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven. Add onions, cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, cook for a minute more. Add zucchini, red bell peppers, and jalapeños. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Coarsely chop the canned tomatoes, add to pot with their liquid. Add wine, cumin oregano, and fennel seeds. Add chili powder to desired heat. Gently stir in reserved eggplant, simmer for 20 minutes over low heat. Add beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. Serves 8-10.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken breast, about 2 large
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 cups),

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 scallions, thinly sliced
a spoonful of sour cream or plain yogurt
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the oil and when it shimmers, tip in the onions and the diced bell pepper.  Stir to coat with the oil and let cook for about 2 minutes until they soften a little.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic, spices and the chipotle and stir to coat.  Continue to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and sweet potatoes and give everything a stir to combine.  Place the chicken breasts down into the stock and potatoes.  The stock should not quite cover all the ingredients.  Crank the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the chicken breasts from the chili and let rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.  The chili can continue to simmer on low.  Using your hands, shred the chicken breasts into nice bite-size, chunks  (you can just cut the raw chicken into large chunks before you add it to the chili if you prefer) Return the shredded chicken to the chili and add the beans.  Continue to cook uncovered for about 10 more minutes, until the beans are heated though and it has thickened a little.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. To serve, ladle into bowls, spoon a dollop of sour cream or yogurt in the center, grind over a little black pepper, and scatter with the sliced scallions.

Submitted by Kathryn Bloom Ft. Myers FL


2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, medium, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 can kidney beans (16 oz)

1 can tomato puree (16 oz)

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

1/2 cup canned green chilies, whole

1/2 cup water

2 ounces chocolate, bittersweet

2 tablespoons red chili powder hot-mild — ground

1 teaspoon cumin

1 beef bouillon cube

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the meat to the skillet. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned. Stir in the kidney beans, tomato puree, tomato paste, green chile, water, 1 ounce of the chocolate, ground chili, cumin and beef cube. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1/2 hour.

Stir occasionally. Stir in the remaining chocolate and continue cooking until it is thoroughly blended.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Serves 4 to 6.

Modified from


My friend Stephanie made this for a dinner party and EVERYONE begged her for the recipe!

10 dried mild New Mexico chiles (2 1/2 to 3 oz)
5 cups water
3 1/4 lb boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
3 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo

For dumplings
3/4 cup masa harina (corn tortilla mix)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Simmer dried chiles in 2 cups water, covered, in a 2-quart heavy saucepan until very soft, about 20 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain in a colander. Stem chiles (do not remove seeds), then purée in a blender with reserved cooking liquid until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve purée.

Pat lamb dry, then sprinkle with pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 6-quart wide heavy pot or a 3-inch-deep straight-sided skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown lamb in 4 batches (without crowding), turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to pot, then cook onion, garlic, bay leaves, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Stir in reserved chile purée and chipotles and simmer, stirring frequently and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot, 5 minutes. Add lamb along with any juices accumulated in bowl and remaining 3 cups water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lamb is tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Serves 6 to 8.
Make dumplings:

Stir together masa harina, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter pieces with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dough is moistened (do not overmix). Skim fat off chili and discard bay leaves, then drop 8 or 9 heaping tablespoons of dough onto simmering chili, about 2 inches apart. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, covered, until tops of dumplings are dry to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Chili is best when made at least 1 day ahead, without dumplings and cilantro, and can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Discard fat from surface and reheat stew before adding dumplings and sprinkling with cilantro.

Modified from Gourmet Magazine 2006


My friend Bud submitted this recipe and while I haven’t made it myself he swears it’s delicious. He obviously has brand preferences!

1 lb ground chuck

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1 6 oz can Hunts tomato paste,

1 can of diced tomatoes Hunts “zesty chili style”

1 can of Brooks mild chili beans 15 oz can

1 can of Brooks hot chili beans 15 oz can

2 cups of water

A few splashes of Worcester sauce

A few splashes of tiger sauce “buy at Meijers”

About 6 oz of spaghetti “cooked”

In a large skillet brown the ground chuck, drain it and then place it in a crock pot. And add to the rest of the ingredients and slow cook all day. You will need to stir it occasionally and you might need to add a little water. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Bud from Albion


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Debbie B
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 10:30:15

    Great Blog!
    Love the chili recipes.
    I prefer the non-bean, non-ground meat varieties of chili.
    Love what you’re doing!


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