Chili Revisited (aka Shelter in Place)

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Today is day 4 of the Bay Area Shelter in Place order. No going out unless it’s to get groceries and other essentials, or luckily, to take solitary walks and bike rides. And it looks like the rest of California is following our lead. It’s going to be a long 3 weeks. But while it’s easy to dwell on the things we can’t do, there are loads of things we can do, and loads of things we can be grateful for. Case in point, one of my neighbors left two bunches of daffodils affixed to our mailboxes this morning. I am also trying to spread a little cheer. It’s the first day of spring, although still a little chilly here, but the sun has come out and I have all the windows open for some fresh air. It’s also Nowruz, Persian New Year. Nowruz in Persian means “New Day” and marks the first day of Spring, when Earth/Nature renews itself after the long winter. So Happy Spring and Happy Nowruz to all!

Tomorrow is date night, and although we can’t go out to a restaurant or a movie or go to dinner at a friend’s house as we had planned, we can have a great date night right at home. So this afternoon I made a big pot of spicy chili. It’s amazing now, but will get even better by tomorrow. I’ll make some cornbread to go with it, and we’ll have a lovely candlelight dinner right here with our cat. She won’t be eating the chili though. I posted this recipe 10 years ago (!) when I first came up with the recipe. I’ve tweaked it a little bit but it remains largely the same.

There are a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps to this recipe, but the majority of the cooking is hands-off once you put everything together. You’ll have about an hour of hands-on time from the prep to the browning of the meat and veg and reducing the beer. After that sit back, relax, and enjoy the aromas as the chili simmers on the stovetop.

You can choose lots of different toppings, but I always add some sour cream which tempers the heat, and avocado when I have it. Cheddar cheese is also nice either shaved or grated. And always, always serve with cornbread! (Cornbread recipe to be added soon)

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Chili with Beef and Beans

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time4 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs beef chuck cut into ½- 1 inch cubes
  • ½ lb ground buffalo
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz dark beer
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium store bought
  • 1 28oz can san marzano whole tomatoes with their juice, put through a food mill
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • juice of ½ lime
  • sour cream, avocado, grated cheddar for serving


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned on all sides. You may have to do this in batches – do not crowd the meat or it will steam instead of browning. This should take about 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a plate.
  • Add ground buffalo, season w/ salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes till browned. Transfer to the plate with the meat.
  • Add the onions, pepper and celery to the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the meat. Cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the ancho powder, chipotle powder, chili powder, and cumin and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the beer and cook until completely reduced, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, add the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle puree, honey and chocolate, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Add the beans and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, and adjust seasonings.
  • Serve with sour cream, sliced avocado, grated cheddar, and cornbread

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