Big Pot of Chili

2015-12-16 17.56.54RECIPE #145, DAY #172

ORIGINAL RECIPE: This is the culmination of all the years of chili making: my favorite ingredients in one giant soup pot that you can share with friends

TIMING: 1/2 hour or more


TOOLS: A big soup pot, and not much else besides a knife and cutting board

COOK TYPE: Stovetop, sauteing and simmering

HEALTH: Chili is a health food–perhaps the only health food–that has slipped past the Americans and become cannon. We don’t often think of it that way, but a bowl of chili is a wonderful meal; full of protein, veggies, fiber, healthy aromatics and spices… it’s simply marvelous. (And it’s cheap and easy to make and stays in one pot.)

EXPERIENCE: Plus, there are so very many variations on chili. I have at least a dozen in my usual chili rotation, which sort of explains why when I decided to make chili for a family who just had a baby I decided to wing it instead of pick one.

I have to admit I had fun picking and choosing my favorite chili ingredients, from cocoa powder to apple juice to beer. And the result was to my liking, with dark, sweet, and spicy notes.

NOTES: The family in question has a kid, so I made sure this pot was sweet and didn’t add any “weird” veggies. I also omitted the jalapeno.


  1. In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion and 2 diced red (orange, or yellow) bell peppers and saute until onion is translucent. Add 2 minced, large cloves of garlic and 1 minced jalapeno and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Move the veggies to the outside rim of the pan and add 1 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. Break up until browned.
  3. Work in 1/2 small can tomato paste with 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. This only takes a minute.
  4. Add 1/2 cup light beer and stir until mixture is almost dry.
  5. Add 1 30 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans, 1 heaping cup frozen sweet corn, 1 cup beef broth, 1 cup apple juice or cider, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. At this point, you can simmer for 10 minutes or you can let the flavor develop by simmering for 1/2 hour or more. If the moisture is getting low, cover.
  6. Taste for salt and other spices and ingredients and serve hot with toppings and a grain.


Serve with cornbread, quinoa, or macaroni, as well as plenty of toppings, such as shredded cheddar, cilantro, lime wedges, diced onion or sliced scallions, diced jalapeno, hot sauce, and sour cream or crema.



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