Get ready for a big spicy spoonful of  chili!  In the winter, give me chili with cornbread and cabernet; in the summer I’ll have chili with tortillas and tequila (or cold beer).  What a flavorful, succulent meal it is!   You’ll find chili everywhere, north, south, east and west; in cookbooks, food magazines and websites (like this one), with many of those authors claiming to divulge “the authentic” recipe.   Particularly in the Southern US, chili recipes provoke  discussions almost as heated as the peppers they contain.  But, I’m ready to jump into the fire, by sharing with you my husband’s favorite recipe.  It’s not the hottest or the spiciest chili you’ll find, but it’s meaty, delicious and the best  he’s ever encountered.  He made it for me for the first time when we started dating and we’ve cooked it together many, many times since then.


(from Bon Appetit, 1988)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 lbs stewing beef, chopped
2 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt), chopped
4 cans (14 1/2 ounce) stewed tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle pale ale (12 ounce)
7 Tbs chili powder
4 jalapeno chilies, seeded
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
Hot pepper sauce (Tabasco type), to taste

Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove vegetables using slotted spoon and set aside.

Increase heat to high. Add beef and pork; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Return vegetables to pot. Add tomatoes, ale, chili powder chilies, cayenne and cumin. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer 2 hours, adding reserved tomato liquid if chili appears dry. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Uncover and simmer until thickened and meat is tender, 2 more hours.

Season chili with hot pepper sauce. Serve with green onions, cheddar cheese, avocado and sour cream.

Makes at least 8 servings.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This favorite version of ours might very well be  “middle-of-the-road” in the debate about what should (or should not) be in a pot of chili. It doesn’t include beans, pleasing many, but it uses tomatoes, upsetting other purists.

We usually make it with  beef and pork, and we recently tried a mixture of lamb and pork.    We prefer this version, exactly as published 22 years ago (!!!) in Bon Appetit, by far. Some markets sell ground beef  for chili, but it’s better to buy a large cut of beef chuck,  some pork shoulder and cut them by hand into 3/4  inch cubes. The final texture is well worth the extra work.

Chili is ideal for entertaining, as it gets better when it sits in the fridge for a day.   Sometimes we make a full batch, enjoy “chili for two,” and save leftovers in the freezer for an encore another time.

This dish deserves recognition as a “Perfect Saturday Night Dinner” !


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( Bon Appetit, 1988)

1 / 4 xícara de óleo vegetal
2 cebolas médias, picadinhas
2 pimentões verdes picados
1 talo de salsao picado
2 dentes de alho picados
2 kg de carne cortada em pedacos
2 kg de carne de porco cortada em pedacos (de preferencia pernil)
4 latas de tomates  pelados, com o suco reservado
sal e pimenta a gosto
1 garrafa de cerveja
7 colheres de sopa de pimenta “chili”
4 pimentas jalapeño, sem sementes
1 colher de chá de pimenta cayenne
1 colher de chá de cominho
molho de pimenta (tipo Tabasco), a gosto

Aqueça o óleo numa panela grande em forno medio. Adicione cebola picadinha, pimentão, salsao e alho e refogue até as cebolas ficarem translúcidas, cerca de 10 minutos. Retire tudo com uma escumadeira e reserve.

Aumente o fogo. Adicione ambas as  carnes, tempere  com sal e pimenta. Cozinhe até dourar, mexendo freqüentemente, cerca de 10 minutos. Retornar a mistura de cebola para a panela. Acrescente os tomates (com parte do  liquido que vem na lata), a cerveja, e os temperos.   Reduza o fogo, tampe parcialmente e cozinhe 2 horas, adicionando o líquido reservado dos tomates (ou agua)  se o chili parece estar secando muito rapidamente.  Prove e ajuste o tempero com sal e pimenta.  Retire a tampa e deixe cozinhar em fogo bem baixo até engrossar e a carne ficar completamente  macia, cerca de duas horas.  Tempere a gosto com molho de pimenta.

Sirva com cebolinha, queijo cheddar, guacamole e “sour cream”.

Rende no minimo  8 porções.

9 thoughts on “DOWN HOME DIG-IN CHILI

    • It is, indeed. And there’s cayenne pepper there too!

      When you add it, it smells like fire! The heat somehow subdues a lot during cooking. When I use a very hot chili powder from Penzey’s, I reduce it to 5 tablespoons. We are not into extra-hot food, so rest assured, it sounds a lot more fiery than it is 🙂


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