Tonight I made the most authentic chili I have ever made. Normally, I make a rote chili with ground turkey, onions, a can of tomatoes, and a can of kidney beans. But tonight I tried (generally) following a recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I’m inspired by my father-in-law, Al, who seems to have learned a new culinary trick from that book every time I see him.

The weather’s been cool – perfect for long-cooking stove top stews.

Here’s the recipe with my variations.

3 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2 in pieces (I only got 1 1/2 lbs, as I think a little meat goes a long way. And I didn’t pat it dry or cut it into smaller pieces.)


olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

10 garlic cloves, chopped (I used a press on one whole bulb)

2-6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (I used thin, small Thai peppers – just broke them open and threw in 5-6)

1/2 chili powder (I had no idea this much was required…)

One 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (I used most of a 1 1/2 pound can – a gigantic can I got from Costco)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar (didn’t have any so I used basalmic, probably 1/4 c)

4 cups water (I didn’t add any water at all)

1. Saute the onions, garlic, peppers, and some salt in olive oil until soft.

2. Add meat and brown.

3. Stir in 1/2 c chili powder. Cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and water (or not). Break up the tomatoes with the back of a large spoon.

5. Simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. If you’re going to add kidney beans – cook them separately and add after step #4.

7. Serve with homemade cornbread or homemade biscuits. We had the chili with biscuits tonight. Yum!