Years ago my roommate came home from a vacation with the original version of this chili recipe, which won a chili cookoff in New Orleans back in, oh, 1982 or so. I’ve modified it down through the years, but the main ingredients and proportions remain the same. I’ve never found any chili I’ve liked better than this — it’s ruined me for restaurant chili.
In copying this recipe once I neglected to note the cooking times from the well-worn original slip of paper, but that shouldn’t matter much. You want the initial ingredients to simmer for an hour or more. It takes a while to cook and add the meat. In the time it takes to add the final ingredients, the thickeners should do their work; at the end you can simmer it for a half hour or so, if it makes you feel better — but I can’t usually wait that long. *smile*
A coworker once spoke about his favorite chili con carne, and how much he loved the meaty flavor. That weekend I made this recipe, and the next week I brought in a container before lunch, set it on his desk, said “try this,” and walked out. That afternoon he wanted this recipe, and as his wife did the cooking, he had me cook it with her. (He complained about the beans and celery, but we ignored him.) He never mentioned the other recipe again.
3 12 oz. cans of beer (an inexpensive lager is fine)
2 TBSP Paprika
1 TBSP Oregano (sometimes 2 TBSP spill in)
10 TBSP Gebhardt’s Chili Powder (that’s right, 10)
3 TBSP Cumin seed
8 cubes beef bouillon
1 TBSP Accent (if you’re MSG conscious, I’ve left this out with no obvious ill effect)
Let it simmer for an hour, as it simmers, cook the meat.
You want 8 to 9 pounds of meat, mostly rump roast. I’ve tried barbecuing it for that great grilled taste, which worked fine, but was extra work (I sliced it thin). I also tried making a healthier version with turkey once, which didn’t work. This ain’t chili lite.
4-5 lbs. rump roast
2-3 lbs. pork shoulder
1+ lb. sausage (I’ve used Linguica, Polish, Louisiana hot—any good flavorful sausage you like works well)
5 good sized onions (I prefer red onions, but yellow are fine, too)
10 cloves crushed garlic
2-3 oz. olive oil (for frying pan)
Cube the meat to ½ to 1 inch (bite sized) pieces. I often ask the butcher to do this, to save time. Chop the onions. I like chunks of onion in the stew so I don’t chop it too fine, but if you prefer, mince the onions. Sauté the meat in a frying pan, in batches, drain excess juices, and add it to the simmering pot. You can add the onions and garlic to the sautéing meat or add them directly to the simmering pot.
[add items in brackets at your own discretion]
28 oz. can diced (or crushed) tomatoes (I’ve used 32 oz. can, too, but I love tomatoes)
27 oz. can kidney beans
1 tsp ground cayenne (sometimes a bit more spills in)
2 tsp coriander (I like to crush it in mortar and pestle just before adding)
3 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
1+ TBSP sugar
2 TBSP flour (as thickener)
[1 tsp mole / unsweetened chocolate]
[2 TBSP peanut butter (good thickener)]
[2-3 tsp salt]
4-5 stalks chopped celery (I add this last, so it’ll be crisp)
Keep it simmering as you add these items, when the thickeners are blended in and the celery is as cooked as you like, it’s ready. Don’t forget the grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top.
Yes, it’s a big batch. But it freezes well. Try it out, and put a few containers in the freezer. Over the next half year, pull a container out and defrost it in the fridge for a day or so, then heat it when you don’t have time to cook. You’ll be glad you did.