Introduction: Colossal Chili

About: Let's skip the pretentious titles. At present, I am a paper pusher. In the remainder of my life, I am a mother of two handsome grown men, a wife to a very patient man, a nana of two precious grandchildren, c…

Certainly, I've always thought my husband's chili recipe to be wonderful. Delicious. Hearty.
So, I was a little apprehensive about sharing the news with him. "Guess what, honey,
Instructables is having a soup, stew and chili contest, but I'm not entering your recipe."

He didn't seem to mind.
His Snickerdoodles recipe, however...

Though this soup is chunky, don't let it fool you. It is indeed fit for a bowl.
Hubby and I put everything on a bed of pasta, so don't be surprised to
see even this chili poured over a bowl of it.

Not too spicy, not too sweet, not too hot, but a hearty, delicious chili you will
not regret making. Be does make quite a batch!

Please feel free to amend the recipe as you choose. Add garlic. Add jalapenos.
Add salt. It is entirely up to you.

Pardon the smoky image - the steam from the hot chili was difficult to blow
out of the way while taking a photograph at the same time!

Step 1: The Recipe - Ingredient Sources and Suggestions...


1/4 cup olive oil (please don't use the cheap stuff)

1 pound inside bottom round stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 pounds of ground round of good quality.
(No need for the finest cut, but don't use the low percent hamburger)

1/2 pound of ground hot Italian sausage


1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
2 cups yellow onion, diced


1/2 cup Burgundy red wine - What to do with the rest of the bottle? Hmmm.
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes (Del Monte "Mexican Recipe")
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce


1 Tablespoon tomato powder or paste
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground Tellicherry black pepper
2 Tablespoons freshly ground cumin
2 Tablespoons hot chili powder
1 Tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground Turkish bay leaves
1 1/2 cups water

BEANS - Yes, I understand some of you are greatly opposed. If so, omit this ingredient.

1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


No doubt, you've looked over the ingredient list and asked yourself "What the heck
is an Aleppo pepper?" or "Where in the world am I going to find ground Tellicherry pepper?"

Fear not, I'm certain your recipe will be just fine using standard ingredients found in your
local grocery store, but...

I don't know these people personally, nor am I paid to promote their company, but I must
sing the praises of The Spice House. If you are not lucky enough to live near one of their
fabulous stores in Illinois or Wisconsin, the online shopping is a breeze, and actually a
fun process.

A recent illness found me in bed, bored, with an internet connection. Sure enough, I found
myself perusing cookbooks and recipes. I found a good recipe, ordered a few spices, and
proceeded with my life. Then I received an email from Instructables about a cookie contest.
Wandering around the site, I found the soup, stew and chili contest. Talk about perfect timing!

Don't worry if you have light brown, instead of dark brown sugar.
Dark brown just has a bit more molasses in it.

Don't panic if you have white onions instead of yellow.
No wine? No worry. Honestly, this recipe is very forgiving.

I prefer to make a recipe verbatim, then I can amend as desired.

This recipe posted as found in a wonderful little cookbook by Clay Erickson.

If you would like to purchase Clay's recipe book

No, I don't work for him, I don't know him, and wouldn't know him if
I passed him on the street. But he makes a mean cookbook!

Step 2: Recipe Notes...

Three small onions.
Three bell peppers, not too big, not too little. Yellow, red and green.
Prep ahead if you wish, but try not to dice the onions until the day
of cooking. The bell peppers can be diced up, covered and refrigerated.

The Del Monte Mexican Recipe stewed tomatoes were a bit of a booger to find.
I must have searched the tomato aisle for five minutes, was about to give up,
and then found them off to the side. Good grief, how many different
types of tomatoes are in the store?

Purchase your meat fresh, perhaps the day of, or the evening prior
to cooking your chili. If there is a meat shop in your area, this is a
better bet than the grocery store.

Don't panic. If you are one to stick to the ingredient list verbatim, you
may need a jump start on some of the products. I highly advise a visit
to The Spice House. Bravo!

Water. Enough said.
Olive oil. Use the good stuff.
Wine. A good burgundy is fine, but in a pinch you may use something else.
I tried not to laugh when a clerk at the liquor store suggested using "Merlah"
in her finest, la-tee-dah accent. Merlah. Must be French for Merlot.

Step 3: Measure the Spices...

Though some may prefer to add and shake spices in as they go, I have a love
of tiny dishes filled with things. Measuring your spices out ahead of time helps
to eliminate any forgotten ingredients.

Measure the following spices and such:

1 Tablespoon of tomato powder or paste
If using paste, I highly recommend Amore tomato paste

2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of ground Tellicherry black pepper
2 Tablespoons of freshly ground cumin
2 Tablespoons of hot chili powder
1 Tablespoon of Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground Turkish bay leaves

1 1/2 cups water

Cover, and set aside. Especially if you have fuzzy pets walking about.

Step 4: Slice and Dice...

Wash the green, yellow and red bell peppers.
Slice each pepper in half, leaving the stem intact.
The stem is now easily bent back, removing the
excess pithy part of the pepper we are not going to use.

Remove seeds, excess waste and such. Don't forget to
spread the seeds out on a paper towel to dry. Think of
the beautiful peppers you could grow in your garden!

Cut the ends off of each pepper, then flip it over. You can
now easily slide the blade of a knife along the inside to remove
any further pith. This also provides a nice, square section to work
with when dicing. Dice up all of the peppers and set aside, or place
into a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Slice each onion in half, having removed the papery husk.
Slice off the ends of each onion, and peel back the layers
to reveal the fresh onion. Slice each half into slices, then proceed
to dice. It is okay to cry. I do.

Step 5: Brown the Meat, Set It Aside to Drain...

If your stew meat was purchased in large chunks, you may wish
to cut it into smaller pieces. I'll never forget, as a child, gnawing
on a large chunk of grisly meat. At the time, I didn't know better,
and we didn't have a dog. My jaws ached. That icky, stringy stuff
was in the middle of it. Horrid, horrid food experience. Don't do this
to your guests. Remove the junk. Buy the good stuff. Or use something
in place of the meat all together, a la vegetarian.

Sorry, Aunt Eva, but your cooking was terrible.

In a large pot, or a Dutch oven if you are lucky enough to own one...
heat the olive oil on medium heat and brown the stew meat on all sides.

Remove the stew meat and set aside. There is no need to clean
the pot, as you will continue to cook in it.

Remove any casings that may be present on the sausage. A typical
number of sausages per package is five. Three is a wee bit much for
the half pound this recipe calls for and two sausages is too few.
Or, you can go wild and just chunk the entire package in, which is likely a pound.
Your call.

Brown the sausage and ground beef together. Resist the urge to salt the meat.

When the hamburger and sausage is cooked, pour it into a strainer or colander
to drain. Remember to save some of the oil. Once the meat is drained, set it aside
with the stew meat.

Step 6: Saute Peppers and Onions, Add Wine, Reduce...

After the meat has drained, reserve about two tablespoons of the oil, placing
it back into the pot. You might have to add a bit more of the oil, so don't toss it
out just yet.

Add the onions and bell peppers and saute on medium heat for about five minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the wine, cover and simmer until it is reduced. Don't panic. Your vegetables
will acquire the same color as your wine, but this is temporary. You know what to do
with the rest of the wine. After all, it was only a sample bottle...right?

Step 7: Add All Ingredients Except the Beans...

Now that the wine has reduced in the peppers and onions,
add back the hamburger and sausage.
Add the stew meat, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce.
Add water.
Add the spices.
Stir well.

You thought it was a bit thick, didn't you.
You panicked, wondering what you did wrong. It seemed like paste, didn't it?
Come on, you can admit it.
You forgot the water.
I did.

Step 8: Bring to a Boil, Reduce Temperature, Simmer for Three Hours...

Bring your chili to a boil, but slowly. Don't crank up the heat and then
jerk the control knob down. Slowly, surely.

Once it has  reached a mild boil, reduce the temperature to a low simmer.
Stir on occasion. Simmer for the next three hours.

This is such a great recipe in that it can be prepped ahead of time, then
combined the next day, and with a three-hour simmer period, gives you
plenty of time to shower, clean house, bake bread, whatever tickles your

Step 9: Add the Beans, Cook for 30 More Minutes...

If adding beans, pour them into a collander or strainer and
rinse with cool water. Drain, then gently mix them into the chili.

Allow the chili to cook (simmer) an additional 30 minutes.

Step 10: Bon Appetit!

Eat your chili plain.
Freeze some for another day.
Eat it with corn chips. Tortillas. Crackers. Cornbread. Macaroni noodles. A fork.

Step 11: What to Do With All the Extra?

Unless you are simply ravished, I doubt you'll want to eat chili at
every meal until this is gone. Share it. Freeze it. Call your neighbors,
call your friends and family. Take a batch to work and share with

They will likely ask you to make it again, so be sure to keep the
recipe handy.


Soup and Stew Contest

First Prize in the
Soup and Stew Contest