Chili is one of those one pot meals that calls for contests and competition.  People strive to create the perfect combination of ingredients that will satisfy the palette, body and soul.  This Football Sunday Chili is my latest attempt at making a chili for the record book.  From a brief sampling by family last night, it certainly should be in the running for something.

At a minimum, it was a tasty meal to enjoy on a rainy, just plain icky day in January.  It simmered and improved while we watched the game.  And the leftovers today are just as good as last night and maybe even better.

Keep in mind that this chili has a “kitchen sink” recipe list. Flavors are layered over hours.  It starts with a hefty amount of carrots, red and yellow peppers and sweet onions.  Flavor builds with the addition of garlic, tomato paste, ancho chili powder, aleppo pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt.  Instead of a the traditional Budweiser, a cup of (gluten free) white wine is added to the mix and reduced over a few minutes.  Next, in goes the Italian sausage, ground beef and then some ground pork. Finally, the diced tomatoes, some chicken broth, beans, two bay leaves and unsweetened cocoa are added to complete this “award winning” recipe.

But it is not completely done.  You sit and let it simmer at medium low heat for about 90 minutes, lid off.  Then reduce it to low and cover and let it slowly simmer another hour or three longer while you watch the game.

As I write this post, I am feeling sort of weird given the milestone birthday that is arriving on Wednesday.  It is a combination of denial, the feeling that I should have accomplished so, so much more than I have by this age (read: career failure despite large investment in education and years of slaving at legal jobs), lots and lots of anger and a deep feeling of loss of youth and any optimism.  I hate that I feel this way particularly because I have two children that I am supposed to instill with hope, positivity and love on a daily basis.  I keep looking within to get more strength, but my well is nearly dry.

But there is a small amount of hope that maybe my forties will bring something good for me, something new and positive, the ability to shut out the many critics that want me to fail… or at least a different, improved perspective.  I hope that I will spend more time appreciating the small little things in life like my daughter telling me that she had the best chili she had ever eaten in her whole life last night.  From an outsider’s perspective, it’s not a big award, but it meant and means something to me.

Football Sunday Chili
Recipe type: Soup, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb ground beef (85%)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 6 oz Italian pork sausage (casing removed)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1- ½ - 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and washed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and washed
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Shredded cheese
  1. Heat olive oil until smoking. Add carrots, onion and red and yellow pepper. Saute for 10-12 minutes until softened. Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
  2. Add ancho chili powder, aleppo pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and tomato paste. Mix together for one minute.
  3. Add white wine and let the liquid reduce to almost nothing over 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add sausage and ground beef and saute until meat browns for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add pork and saute until cooked through.
  6. Finally, add in cocoa, tomatoes, chicken broth and beans.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 90 minutes uncovered.
  8. Simmer for 1-3 hours more at low heat covered until time is right to serve.
  9. Spoon into chili bowls and top with sour cream, cilantro, green onions and cheese of your choosing.









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