The Good & the Bad — A Recipe for Chili


This morning I had a blueberry muffin fail. Oh, they still tasted good, but they were not what they were supposed to be. Was it because I wasn’t wearing my apron? No, I’m not superstitious. I just wasn’t paying enough attention. I was distracted by two little girls clamoring for something, bickering about something, and yet wanting to help me. So, I ended up with chunky blueberry jam for the muffin-top swirl and whisked the butter and oil into the flour instead of the eggs and created a thin batter into which the blueberries sank to the center of each muffin which had no muffin-top swirl whatsoever. And then some of them wouldn’t dislodge from the pan and lost their tops. Ah, yes.

But in case you thought this post was about blueberry muffins, well, it’s not. Instead it’s about chili and a recipe that was quite successful, winning a chili cook-off a couple of weeks ago.* Did I think I would win? No. Standing there as my five-year-old is whining very loudly to ride in the abandoned firetruck shopping cart I had mistakenly parked her wheelchair next to and trying to keep my seven-year-old and two-year-old from grabbing every recipe card off the rack on the other side of the firetruck shopping cart, catching bits and pieces of the judges’ comments of something “without the beans … compete internationally” and “nice, smoky flavor” and “it proves you can put dark chocolate in anything”, I still didn’t think it would win. I thought it was probably too different and too far-fetched. But I guess the judges thought differently.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of it yet, for I didn’t even think to take one as I was making it for dinner a while ago; I was more focused on actually remembering the measurements of ingredients I was putting into the chili. 🙂

So, here’s a picture of failed blueberry muffins to accompany a winning chili recipe. Enjoy! 😀

*But if you’ll recall from a previous post, my mom often made blueberry muffins as a side when she made chili.


Fa-brew-lous Chili with Bacon

  •  4 oz. (about 4-5 slices) bacon, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. ground ancho chili pepper**
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder stirred into ¼ cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • ¼ cup chopped jalapenos
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can dark or light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 oz. dark chocolate (or one fun-size Hershey’s Special Dark bar)
  • ½ to 1 cup stout beer or water
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Cook bacon in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).  Add onions and cook until bacon is almost crisped and onions are tender (about 4-6 minutes). Add garlic and cook till fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook ground beef in large pot (4 quart or bigger with a lid is best) over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking into smaller pieces, until browned. Drain as much fat from meat as possible.

Once ground beef is cooked, add ground ancho chili pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, coriander, onion powder, and black pepper. Stir until meat is even coated and mixture becomes fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.

Add cocoa/coffee mixture and stir until combined. Add bacon/onion mixture, bouillon cube, jalapenos, tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, ½ cup water, and chocolate. Simmer covered over medium-low to medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add enough beer to thin to desired consistency.

Simmer for another 10-20 minutes or up to an hour (this is the perfect time to drink the remaining beer). Serve chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips as desired.

**If you don’t have all the spices and don’t feel like going out to buy all of these (though these are all ingredients for making your own chili powder and taco seasoning), you can substitute 2-3 Tbsp. chili powder for the ancho chili pepper, cayenne, cumin, oregano, salt, coriander, and onion powder.


2 responses »

  1. I just got your card with the info for this site. Thanks so much! I’ve already tried it without the actual recipe –just from memory. It wasn’t far off….my memory is better than expected. But this will be so much better, WITH all the ingredients! Thanks so much.

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