Sandy’s Award Winning Chili

My father and I had a love of food and cooking… One of my mother’s greatest fears was he and I going grocery shopping together. We would come back with so much stuff. We got very excited about all the different varieties of blue cheese and we would HAVE to experience all of them.

It was a running joke in my family that my father and I gave directions using restaurants as landmarks. My mother, who, of course, was thin, would not even be aware that a restaurant was located at any given corner.

Her version of directions were very simple:

“Go down to Main Street and take a right, then go to 5th and turn left … Go past the Methodist church and then you will turn right onto Belcourt. And there you will be.”

Me and my father’s version:

“Go down here to where the Taco Bell is and then turn toward the donut place. Then you will see a Tony Roma’s on the left and you will turn there…then you know that big white building, with the cross on top, that has bake sales on Sunday afternoons? You want to go past that and then you will be at the place where you will see a KFC and Mickey D’S across from each other. That is where you want to turn right. And there you will be. But go early cause there is a great French bakery next door and today is the day they give samples.”

One of the things my father was very good at was cooking chili. But he made his VERY hot and spicy with tons of jalapenos in it. It was always too hot for me.

So this is my special recipe that I came up with…it is still a bit spicy but will not send your tongue to hell and back…

I hope that you will make it and enjoy it…


4 Lbs ground sirloin

4 Tbs vegetable oil

1 large white onion

1 med purple onion

10-15 garlic cloves (sections)

32 oz beef broth (low sodium is fine)

2 C water

2 15 oz tomato puree

2 Tbs corn meal

2 ½ Tbs baking cocoa

¼ Tsp Accent

And the following spices


1 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs whole cumin seeds

3 Tbs good chili powder

1 Tbs sweet paprika

1 Tsp allspice

½ Tsp ground coriander

½ Tsp cayenne

½ Tsp mace

½ Tsp oregano

1 Bay leaf

½ Tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs kosher salt

1 Tsp black pepper

Okay cowboys… First let us say a special thanks to the Chili Gods that are about to bless your taste buds…Thank you Mighty Gods of Chili.

Start browning meat in large deep skillet with veggie oil…

In food processor put rough chopped onions and garlic… take it to almost a pulp stage.

When beef is a little more than half browned, throw in onion/garlic mixture. Let cook for (while you stir it in) for about 8-10 minutes.

Then throw in whole cumin seeds, stir and let them cook with meat.

Take a potato masher and mash the meaty mixture so that there are no big clumps…

In separate dish…mix ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, allspice, coriander, cayenne, mace, oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix these dry ingredients together and sprinkle over meat.

Transfer all of the cooked meat mixture into a very large pot.

Now put in broth, water and puree and mix well.

Then put in bay leaf and let simmer for ONE HOUR!!!

Then remove the silly bay leaf. Rinse it off and store it so that you can use again…JUST KIDDING!! Throw it away!

Now after the above-mentioned hour, add the cocoa, Accent and corn meal…STIR well and then go have a beer and let the whole thing simmer for about 3 hours.

REMEMBER to stir it every time you go and get another beer. That should a lot of stirring.

Serve it with grated jack and cheddar cheese, minced fresh white onions and cornbread

All the spices can be changed to your own taste BUT this is the blend that I have found works the best. I also like to make it a day ahead and serve on next day…24 hours of frig time does something to the “marrying” of all the flavors…

Don’t forget to tip your server… and kiss the cook.

Note: the apron in the picture is over 25 years old and was given to me by a good friend.

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