Chili recipes

DENVER Green Chili

PG tested

My oldest sister, Kathy, is a reluctant cook; as grounds manager at the University of Pittsburgh, she prefers gardening to puttering around in her Emsworth kitchen. She does, however, make a killer green chili. Kathy got this awesome recipe back in 1976 from Dorella Martinez, who ran the Welcome Inn bar/restaurant in Denver. You also can make it with hamburger, but my sister's late husband preferred it with pork, so that's how she usually does it.

Unlike some meatier recipes, this is a soup-like chili, which means it's great for smothering burritos or spooning over huevos rancheros. I love it in a bowl served with flour tortillas and shredded cheddar cheese.

  • 10 to 12 Anaheim chile peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder or chop, cut into bite-sized pieces (or you can substitute hamburger)
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 14-ounce cans diced tomato with chile

Cut roasted anaheim chile peppers into a small dice. Set aside. For a milder chili, remove the seeds. (I like the taste of charred skin, so opted not to peel the peppers.)

Brown pork in olive oil a heavy frying pan. Lift pork up to side of dish to get a puddle of grease in the middle. Add 2 tablespoons flour to the pan, or enough to whisk the grease into a paste.

While browning the meat, put diced tomato and chile peppers into a 6-quart Dutch oven or sauce pan and add 3 to 4 cans of water. (If you want it more soupy, add more water.) Add the pork, and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, then simmer chili for an additional hour. If desired, you can add red or pinto beans about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10 to 12.

-- Kathy Trent

Sun-Dried Tomato & sausage chili

PG tested

Canadian cuisine often is heavy on game, rainbow trout and Alberta beef. This tasty recipe, a specialty at The Sherwood House Restaurant in Canmore, Alberta, substitutes spicy chorizo sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. The combo sounds kind of bizarre but is terrific; even my 14-year-old daughters and their friends gave it a resounding thumbs-up.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 11 ounces chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 6-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion. Add the beef and sausage and brown. Add all the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 11/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6 to 8.

-- "Killer Chili" by Stephanie Anderson (Chronicle, $16.95)

Clam and Green Chile Chili

PG tested

"Clams are definitely an unusual chili ingredient!" writes Jane Butel, whose "Chili Madness," originally published in 1998, came out in a second edition a decade later. "I have always loved New England--style clam chowder and thought, why not marry those flavors with the mild taste of green chiles and the spicy pep of chorizo?" I agree with her that the combination works, especially if you're looking for something different. Note: I found the dried pequin peppers at Penzeys in the Strip District.

-- Bob Batz Jr.

  • 8 ounces Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed and discarded, meat chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled, diced
  • 3 large fresh green chiles, parched (charred over a gas burner and skin removed), peeled, and chopped, or 1/2 cup canned or frozen chopped green chiles
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded (if you wish to reduce heat), and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 15-ounce can whole-kernel corn
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into very thin strips, for garnish
  • 2 6-ounce cans chopped clams
  • Salt (optional)
  • Pequin quebrado (optional)

Place the chorizo in a 5-quart pot over medium heat and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and render some of its fat, about 5 minutes. Remove most of the fat with a spoon, leaving a thin layer on the bottom of the pot.

Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, both chiles, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, the corn, and the chicken broth. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

While chili is simmering, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. During the first few minutes of baking time, twist the strips with a large fork to make them spiral. Set aside.

Add the clams and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin to the chili and simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding salt if desired. To serve, ladle the chili into soup bowls and top each serving with a stack of tortilla strips. Then sprinkle with pequin quebrado if desired. Or pass the pequin at the table for those who wish to spice things up themselves.

Serves 4 to 6.

-- "Chili Madness" by Jane Butel (Workman, 2008)

Italian Chili

PG tested

I've made all types of chili, vegetarian and Cincinnati and "regular" with ground beef, chili powder and kidney beans. So when my cousin, Elaine Kray, told me about the Italian Chili her daughter Arlene Grejda made, I knew I had to try it. "It's really good," Elaine said. Her daughter "uses hot sausage instead of ground beef and peppers, onions, garlic and some type of canned tomato sauce or tomatoes." My husband, Ray, is a chili enthusiast and I knew he would gladly try. He loved it and so did I.

-- Arlene Burnett

  • 3 1/2 pounds regular or turkey Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 15.5 ounce cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 or more tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 29-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Banana peppers for garnish, optional

Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove sausage and place in a sieve to drain the grease. Place sausage in a large pot.

Cook onion and peppers in olive oil over medium-high heat until slightly browned. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to pot. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and stir, scraping up browned bits. Add water to pot. Add beans, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes and, if desired, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir thoroughly. Cook over low heat about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If the chili gets too thick, add a little water to the pot (about 1/2 to 1 cup).

Serve with parmesan, banana peppers and garlic bread.

Serves 10 to 12.

More options: Jarred spaghetti sauce can be used in place of the tomato products. Omit garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. The chili can be cooked in a slow cooker. Follow the same directions, placing all the ingredients into a slow-cooker, and cook on low for about 8 hours.

-- Arlene Grejda


PG tested

The earthy combination of these flavors and the way the mild avocado balances with the spicy chili makes this a satisfying dish.

-- Virginia Linn

  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium chipotle plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound 85-percent lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice

Put a third of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, along with the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle and adobo sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until it's shimmering hot, about 2 minutes.

Add the beef, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the beef to a large plate using a slotted spoon. Add half of the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.

Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for 20 seconds. Add the remaining black beans, the pureed bean mixture and the beef to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of the lime juice, half of the cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. If the chili is thicker than you like, it may be thinned with water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining lime juice and onion with the avocado. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve the chili topped with the avocado mixture and remaining cilantro.

Serves 4.

-- Tony Rosenfeld,

PorkapeNo Black Bean Chili

This pork chili recipe won last month's Fire & Ice Festival and Chili Cookoff competition at The Shoppes at Northway. It was prepared, and dished up, by students in A.W. Beattie Career Center's culinary arts program in McCandless, using a family recipe of pastry arts instructor Ken Morehead.

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 pounds boneless pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 12-ounce jar pickled jalapeno pepper slices
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans
  • 2 15-ounce cans whole- kernel yellow corn, drained
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub garlic over roast. Sprinkle flour into a large oven baking bag. Place roast in bag. Pour un-drained jalapeno peppers over roast. Close and pierce bag according to manufacturer's instructions. Insert meat thermometer through bag, into thickest portion of roast. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Cool roast in bag about 45 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Reserving meat drippings and cooked peppers, transfer roast to a cutting board. Cut meat into small pieces. Skim fat from meat drippings.

In a large Dutch oven, cook onions in oil over medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until onions are tender and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in pork, reserved meat drippings and peppers, un-drained beans, corn, un-drained tomatoes, cumin, and salt. Stirring occasionally, cover and simmer about 45 minutes. Stir in cilantro and cook 15 minutes longer. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 17 cups.

-- Ken Morehead, A.W. Beattie Career Center

Red Chili

PG tested

A puree of earthy, slightly spicy ancho chile pepper (dried poblano) lends a wonderful depth to this chili. I couldn't find dried in my grocery store so substituted fresh poblano chilies that I roasted over a flame on my range. I also doubled the amount of pickled jalapeno because they're one of my favorite condiments.

  • 5 dried Mexican ancho or hatch chile peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno, chopped
  • 28-ounce can tomatoes, broken up, with juice
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 15-ounce can beans (pinto, kidney, black or a combination), drained
  • Condiments: grated cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados, chopped tomato or onion, minced cilantro

In a dry large skillet over high heat, lightly toast both sides of the chilies for a few minutes. After roasting, remove from pan to slice open, then remove and discard the stems and seeds. Cover the chilies in boiling water and let soften for 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with enough soaking liquid to form a thick paste.

Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat, and then add the olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat and add the beef and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally to pick up brown bits on the bottom of the pan as the moisture evaporates, about 15 minutes. If the meat is excessively fatty, spoon off some of the fat, but leave some for flavor.

Stir in cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Add chili paste, red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaf, jalapenos and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine well.

Add the tomatoes and beer and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add water if needed for desired consistency. Serve with preferred condiments. If desired, garnish with salty tortilla chips or crumble in corn bread.

Serves 6.

-- "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys" by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan, $27.95)


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