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Before I get started I would like to thank Brian and the boys for eating an INORDINATE amount of chili over the past months while I tested this recipe. Your patience with me is greatly appreciated, and my kitchen would never be as lively, messy or wonderful without your hungry faces staring at me, wondering when dinner would be ready and smiling politely when I confirm that yes, we are having chili…again.


Did you know…

…that chili became famous in 1893 at the World’s Fair in Chicago? It was featured at the San Antonio Chili Stand and prompted ensuing stands to pop up all over Texas and beyond. The Great Chili debate is one that plagues Texas to this day. Who’s really is the best? Should you add beans? Saltines or Fritos? To these age-old questions my answers are:

The best chili I have ever eaten is my father’s Moody Chili…although I hope this recipe comes in at a close second.

I actually like black beans in my chili but feel they can be easily eliminated.

Frito chili pie is one of my all time FAVORITE meals. I could probably eat it several times a week and be content, although the skinny jeans would eventually protest.

**If you are looking for an elegant chili presentation, try serving it with chopped fresh cilantro and Queso Fresco like I did for these pictures.





2 pounds beef chili meat

2 onions, finely chopped

2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped

2 jalapenos seeded, deveined and finely chopped

6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups of beer–if its flat, even better!

4 TBS Cumin

1 15 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (if you can’t find fire roasted, regular are fine)

Half of a 15 oz can tomato sauce

1-2 cups chili water (recipe below)

3+ TBS chili paste (recipe below)

salt and pepper to taste

**1 can black beans, drained  (optional)

ingredients for chili water:

2 cups water

3 Dehydrated Ancho Chilis

5 Dehydrated Arbol Chilis

***Cook’s note***

When I was 20 years old and living in a tiny Florentine apartment, I found an interesting gadget in that kitchen that has truly changed my cooking life. It is not expensive or fancy, but has completely eliminated an estimated hundreds of tears shed in my kitchen. Literally. From chopping onions.

These choppers  are super handy to have in the kitchen. I recommend investing in one today.


(for chili water)

1.) In a small pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Turn off heat and place all the chilis in the water and cover with a lid. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.

2.) Remove stems from each chili and then pour them and the water into a blender. (I use a NutriBullet.) Pureé.

3.) Pour through a fine metal sieve, catching Chili Water in a 2 cup measuring cup, and keeping Chili reminants (aka Chili Paste) for later. Set aside.

(for chili)

1.) In a deep vessel heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, pepper, jalapeno and garlic, and sauté until softened and slightly golden. A bit of brown carmilization on the the bottom of the pan is encouraged!

2.) De-glaze the pan by adding beer. Stir gently making sure to scrape up the browned bits on the sides and bottom of the pan. Let simmer 1-2 minutes.

3.) Add meat, cumin and a pinch of Sea Salt and stir well until incorporated with vegetables. Cook until almost completely browned.

4.) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili water, chili paste and black beans if including. Stir well and let simmer until liquid is reduced to desired consistency. I let mine simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

5.) Taste flavor and adjust seasonings:

if you want a little more spice, or a little more “chili flavor” you can add more chili paste, 1 TBS at a time.

You can also add additional Cumin, Black Pepper or even some traditional Chili Powder.

This makes an ENORMOUS batch. Make it when entertaining a crowd on Game Day, or feed your crew and freeze the rest. This is a wonderful meal to serve with Fritos and Cheese or with Mexican Cornbread.

-ciao for now-


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