Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Dad's Famous Chili

One thing the hubby and I really missed during our house hiatus? My dad's chili. Honestly, we make a batch once every couple of months, freeze a couple of bags of it, and eat it once a month. We love this chili.

Being from the West Coast, tomato-based chili is not normal to me. Or maybe just growing up with a dad who grew up in the Midwest, means tomato-based chili is not normal. Whatever the reason, I hate it. Hate it. Strong words, but I speak honestly.

I'm picky about my chili.

Chili always reminds me of my childhood. My dad made a batch every Halloween. Halloween in Oregon is a freezing cold, rain-soaked day about, oh, 99% of the time. A bowl of chili before heading out into the frigid night air to commandeer candy tasted so good. He always served chili with a crusty french bread straight from the oven that I would slather with butter. Chili and french bread are synonymous to me now. Perfect chili for me also requires shredded Cheddar cheese and onions. Another childhood memory of mine is of throwing a temper tantrum because my dad served us chili with no cheese in the house. Proud memory there.

Hey, who said kids are rational 100% of the time?

Now that I'm adult, I still eat chili the exact same way. Served over elbow macaroni, topped with cheese and onions, with a side of warm French bread and butter. Except now, I enjoy my chili with a nice, cold beer :)


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (plus more for serving)
1 lb ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups beef stock
2 cups beer (I usually use a lager)
2 cans pinto beans
3 tbsp coarse ground corn meal (polenta)
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp regular chili powder, divided
1 tbsp ancho chili powder


Cooked elbow macaroni
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onions


1. Heat olive oil in a large pan with high sides. Once oil is heated, add onions to the pan and saute until tender. Add ground beef to pan, stir to crumble. Cook until beef is browned, then add the garlic and 1 tbsp of the regular chili powder to the pan.
2. Add the beef broth, beer, and beans to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil.

3. As mixture is coming up to a boil, mix corn meal with 2-3 tbsp's cold water in a separate small bowl. Just as the mixture is coming to a boil, add the corn meal mixture to the pan while stirring. Turn down the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Add the cumin, oregano, remaining chili powder, and ancho chili powder to the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

5. Serve immediately over the cooked macaroni, and top with cheese and onions. For maximum satisfaction, enjoy with warm french bread and a cold beer.

You can visit my dad's recipe here, where you will find an undeniably wittier post than mine :)


  1. I feel so honored! Makes my cold seem insignificant. Thanks for the great post. Love you!

    1. I'm sorry you're sick! Sheesh, everyone back there has been sick all of December! I hope you feel better! Love you too!