The Chili Recipe You Have To Try When Temperatures Drop In The Midwest

The Chili Recipe You Have To Try When Temperatures Drop In The Midwest

Everyone has a chili recipe that they consider to be the best. Is it ever the best? Usually not, but that’s what makes chili so great. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, as long as you’re happy with the results.

Here’s how I do it almost every year. The recipe is based on Guy Fieri’s Dragon Breath Chili with a few tweaks along the way.

This is what you need:


  • Peppers – The perfect combination is about 3 poblanos, 3 Anaheims, 2 jalapenos, and 2 red peppers. You may not find them all in the store. Just take what they have. The Anaheims are optional, if you can’t find them get an extra poblano or paprika.
  • Meat – I like to use three types of meat: a large piece of roast (about a pound) or another fatty slice of cow cut into small pieces (~1/4 inch), a pound of Italian sausage (hot or mild, your preference) without casing and torn into small pieces, and 2 pounds ground beef (you can use chicken, veal, pork, or whatever to get a coarse ground beef)
  • Spices – Go crazy here and use whatever you want. I highly recommend lots of chili powder, a little less cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, granulated onion and granulated garlic. This is where you can really have fun. Do you have an exotic pot of Aleppo pepper that you don’t know how to use? Use it here.
  • 2 large yellow onions chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic finely chopped, feel free to use more garlic or roast it for some extra flavor
  • Liquids – Again, use whatever you want or have, but here’s what I like to add: a can of tomato sauce, half a can of tomato paste, beef or chicken stock, beer.
  • Beans – Another one up to you. If you don’t like beans, leave them out. I only use black beans, but pinto beans are also a good choice. You want 2 or 3 cans of beans with the liquid they come in.

Travel directions:

  1. Roast the peppers. There are two main ways to do this. If you have a gas stove, you can place it directly over the flame. Twist them with pliers until they are completely black and charred on the outside. Or you can cut them in half, arrange on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes. After doing either method, place the peppers in a ziplock bag or bowl covered with saran foil for about 15 minutes. Then you can wipe the cabbage from the peppers and cut into pieces. DO NOT use water to get rid of the cabbage, you will wash away all the smoke flavor you just made for 30 minutes.
  2. Brown all your meat. Start with the diced roast. Put some oil in the bottom of a Dutch Oven and let all sides get a good color. Remove the chuck and repeat with the sausage and then the ground beef. Remove all meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. You should now develop a good stock at the bottom of the pot. We’re going to scrape all that up by adding the onions. Cook on medium until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Clear some space in the center of the pot and add your garlic and herbs. This will help your herbs bloom a bit and soften the garlic a bit. Do not skip this step.
  5. Return all the meat to the pan. Add the diced bell pepper. Pour whatever beans (and bean juice) you use into the jar. Finally, add the tomato sauce, pasta, stock, and beer to fill the remaining space in the pot.
  6. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Four hours is the minimum time you want to cook this. I usually make this at night and let it simmer while I sleep.

Top with whatever you like, but I recommend oyster crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced raw onions.

Make a large batch as this chili will only get better the longer it sits in the fridge. Every night of the week you have delicious chili to look forward to.

And remember, this is a guide, not a recipe. Chili is made with your heart, not your brain. Listen to your heart as you make this and you’ll have a great pot of chili every time.

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