Spicy Autumn Chili

Can you believe I went most of my life without trying chili? I know, pretty devastating, right?

I was totally bitter about it at first, but understand it’s not a common food among Greeks and Italians (my ethnicity), so I guess I’ll let this one slide Yiayia and Nonna. Maybe I can come up with a Greek/Italian-friendly version? Anyway, the first time I had real chili was when my mother-in-law made it for us when my husband and I were dating. I still remember, it was a cool, crisp day and the warm aromas of the beef and spices filled their house. We each grabbed a bowl of chili and of course, corn bread as a side. It was delicious and from that moment on, I was obsessed with eating chili.

Since then, I’ve tried a couple of recipes with different meats, beans and techniques and through those experiences, was able to create a recipe that I hope our family can enjoy for years to come! A couple of weeks ago, I made it on a chilly afternoon (no pun intended) and we all ate it together. It was really sweet, my daughter enjoyed it just as much as we did – she’s totally a foodie in the making.

This chili recipe combines Mexican-inspired spices, harvesty (totally not a word) notes from seasonal beer and a spicy kick from fresh jalapenos. It’s thickened with a combination of beer and masa harina flour, which is a technique I learned from the talented Pioneer Woman. I love creamy chili, and this totally does the trick!

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I’d highly recommend serving this dish with corn bread because who doesn’t enjoy dunking sweet bread into a bowl of chili?

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So, the next time it’s chilly out, grab your flannel shirt, head to the stove and make this autumn chili for one, two, seven or 20 (you’ll need a really big dutch oven for that) and enjoy! Just the aroma of the chili will be enough to bring your spirits up! Don’t forget to tag your photos with #marinamakeseats!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A quarter of a sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 pounds of chicken, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 bottle of seasonal beer, or any type of beer you prefer
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 to a 1/3 cup of masa harina
  • Shredded monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado

Directions

Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onions, garlic and jalapenos to the pot and let everything cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the chicken and season with cumin, paprika, chili powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Stirring and cooking until the chicken is browned and vegetables are tender.

Add the diced tomatoes and their liquids, beans, about 3/4 of the bottle of beer (set the rest aside) and chicken broth, stirring to combine all of the ingredients. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 50-60 minutes.

After the chili is just about done cooking, in a separate bowl, combine the remaining beer and masa harina to create a flour slurry. Add the slurry to the bowl and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve in bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and avocado.

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