Not for the Faint of Heart Chili

16 Feb

Guest post! Thanks to Non-Gourmet J for sharing her amazing chili recipe with us!

by Non-Gourmet J

Just the thought of winter gives me the chills. I remember my youth spent trudging through the snow in Kansas City, scraping ice off my windshield while my hands slowly turned a scary shade of blue, power lines downed on side streets, and random patches of black ice that sent my jalopy of a car into a fishtailing frenzy. Despite all this, there are many joys of winter that give me comfort in a way swimsuit season never can. I think of snowball fights, sledding down Suicide Hill, having a permanent excuse to lie on the couch all weekend (football), and cooking hearty food.

My favorite winter fare is, hands down, chili. The one-pot wonder is affordable and highly adaptable. You can make it spicy, vegetarian, loaded with beans (any other way is, in my opinion, a disgrace to the dish completely, but suit yourself), gourmet, or budget-friendly. The following recipe is nowhere near vegetarian, but could be made that way. Just omit the beef, change to vegetarian broth, and use a vegetarian Bloody Mary mix (most contain beef broth or flavoring).

I owe much of this recipe to my dad, who started this quest for the perfect bowl years ago. He and I have worked together and shared our successes and failures as every year we try something a little different. The following is my most recent attempt.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced (I prefer Vidalia or red onions)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ground sirloin (chuck also works well)
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • ¼ – ½ bottle Bloody Mary mix (I prefer Pain is Good – – but any spicy, tasty bottle will do – you can even make your own!)

  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste (can add more if you need to thicken & cut heat at the end)
  • 2-3 chipotles from a can of chipotles in adobo (optional – I only use this if I don’t have smoked paprika on hand – you can chop them up or throw them in whole and remove them later)
  • 7-10 tbsp. chili powder mixture (you can make up your own or see below for an example)
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 1 bottle dark beer (my favorite is Shiner – this can be omitted if serving guests who do not drink alcohol)

Chili Powder Mixture:

The following is what I used today, but it varies every time based on what I have on hand or what I find at the store.

  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. guajillo
  • 1 tbsp. chile de arbol
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika (regular is just okay in this; if you don’t have smoked, use the chipotles in adobo instead)
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeño powder
  • 1 tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin


Sauté onions in oil over medium-high heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add ground beef and brown.

Once the beef loses its pink color, add the beef broth, Bloody Mary mix, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.

If using the chipotles in adobo, add them here (can be added whole and removed later for flavor or diced and left in for extra spice). Add chili powder mixture and brown sugar. Turn down heat to low, cover and let simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. (*Note – if using dried beans soaked overnight add them here so they have time to cook).

Taste chili and adjust seasonings as necessary (adding tomato paste to cut heat; if you need to add heat here, you need to get tested by a doctor because you have a problem).

Add beans and beer.

Cook an additional 20 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, corn bread and/or saltines.

Green Gourmet L can totally vouch for this chili as I’ve had it at least 3 times now. Each time, it is a little bit different (based on the spice mixture), but so awesome! Give it a try and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.


2 Responses to “Not for the Faint of Heart Chili”

  1. GG K February 16, 2011 at 9:35 AM #

    I will definitely be trying this recipe. I like the mix of beans you used and the unexpected addition of bloody Mary mix. And where did you get that spoon rest thing? I didn’t know those existed but I now require one.

  2. Non-Gourmet J February 16, 2011 at 9:57 AM #

    Thanks, GG K! The bloody Mary mix is the secret ingredient and makes all the difference, in my opinion. The spoon rest was a gift, so I’m not sure where to get it, but it is clutch!

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