Recipes » Award-winning chili

College students serving chili into styrofoam cups in the outdoorsThree people standing behind an outdoor table with a Crock-Pot of chili and toppings

This mild yet flavourful American-style chili con carne has won me a few small-time, local awards. It also placed second in the 2019 and 2021 Glenville State College Chili Contests, the first being under the name Menacingly Mild and the pitch “So mild my grandma with chronic heartburn can take it!” Considering I no longer have any particular interest in competitive cooking, here’s the recipe.

Author: Seth Price
Category: Entrée
Date published: 18 October 2019

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6+ hours
Yield: About 8–10 bowls

Nutrition Info

All values are approximate and calculated from package labelling of ingredients. Serving size: 1 bowl (180g)

Total Fat7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat0g
Unsaturated Fat4g
Potassium 225mg
Total Carbohydrates24g
Dietary Fiber10g

Vitamin A 764 IU
Vitamin C 25mg
Calcium 83mg
Iron 4mg


  • 500g (1lb) ground angus or other lean-ish beef
  • 500g (1lb) ground pork
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds/ribs removed, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 #2 can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and piths removed
  • 400g cooked (or 1 #300 can, drained) pinto beans
  • 400g cooked (or 1 #300 can, drained) dark red kidney beans
  • 3 ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, seeds and stems removed
  • 1L (1qt) low-sodium beef stock
  • 1T molasses or to taste
  • 10g (1T) freshly ground cumin
  • 15g (5t) dried oregano leaves
  • Generous dash smoked paprika
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cocoa powder
  • Pinch freshly ground cardamom
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Anchovy paste to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Monosodium glutamate to taste


  1. If you are using whole spices (recommended but not necessary), toast them together in a dry pan, lightly tossing till fragrant and wisps of smoke rise from the pan, then grind in a mortar-and-pestle, coffee grinder or similarly effective implement.
  2. If using dry beans, soak in plain water at least eight hours before cooking about 85% of the time directed on the package.
  3. Blend chiles with just enough beef stock to form a paste. Set aside, overnight if reasonable.
  4. Fry meat together over moderately high flame in a sufficiently sized heavy-bottom pot, breaking down to a fine texture with a wooden spoon, till expelled juices have evaporated and meat is well-browned. Drain excess fat. (Be careful not to burn the fond after this point.) Add spices (sans salt/MSG) and mix thoroughly, slightly toasting them. Cook vegetables with meat till the onion sweats. Reduce flame.
  5. Crush tomatoes in the same pot using the spoon, leaving no excessively large chunks. Stir in beans, taking care not to excessively crush them. Add chili paste. (At this point, the chili might possibly be somewhat thick. However, water will eventually expel from the vegetables to even out the texture; do not overcompensate now!)
  6. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce flame to low to let simmer for six hours or as long as desired, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Leave partially uncovered to reduce if texture is too thin, or add water or beef stock near the end to thicken if desired. Taste and season with balsamic vinegar, anchovy paste, MSG and/or salt towards the end.
  7. Serve hot with sweet cornbread and toppings (such as freshly grated Cheddar or sliced scallions).