Skip to main content


Chili is a wonderful thing to make on a snowy Saturday. Today happens to be April first, and Mother Nature decided to pull a prank and give us 8 inches of heavy wet snow for April Fools. You thought spring had arrived? Ha ha, she said, not for New England!

In order to combat the cold and blues, I decided to make a huge pot of chili. This freezes really well, so do not be alarmed when your end result can feed a small army. Chili is so delightfully warming; I particularly like making my own because I can dictate how spicy it is. If you are a fan of spice, feel free to use serrano or habanero chilis, up the amount of chili and cayenne powder, use more chipotles in adobo, chili paste or red pepper flakes. I tend to play it safe since I have a low tolerance for spicy heat.

My two favorite ingredients in this recipe are the pork and the maize. The pork because I prefer it to ground beef, and the maize kernels because of their unique corn but not quite corn flavor and texture. The masa harina, which is  a flour made from dried maize kernels, reinforces the maize flavor and thickens the chili perfectly. The layers of flavor, built up from the vegetables, the fond, the spices, the herbs and the liquid smoke, make an entirely satisfying bite of chili. Topping it with your favorite extras just makes the chili that much more comforting and delicious. Help yourself to a bowl, and say cheers to April snow!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 celery rib, finely minced
1 small carrot, finely mined
1 red bell pepper, finely minced
1 chili, seeded (I used anaheim) finely minced
1 medium onion, finely minced
freshly cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2  tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili pepper paste
1 chipotle in adobo
2 bay leaves
1 14.5 ounce cab kidney beans, drained
1 14.5 ounce can pinto beans, drained
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
29 ounce can maize (white hominy), drained
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons masa harina
liquid smoke to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish with spring onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced avocado- you name it!

In a large dutch oven, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the finely minced celery, carrot, red bell pepper, the chili of your choosing, and onions. Crack in some black pepper and sauce over medium high heat until the vegetables turn translucent and soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook a further 30 seconds, until frgrnat. Add in the beef and pork and sprinkle over the salt. Brown the meats until they are no longer pink and develop some well- browned bits. Skim away excess grease as needed. 

Add the oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne powder, red pepper flakes and mustard powder. Cook for about a minute, until the spices are toasted, awoken and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, chili pepper paste and chipotle in adobe and cook for another minute or two, until the pastes begin to caramelize and develop a fond on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the bay leaves, the beans, the tomatoes, the maiz and the water, stirring well to deglaze the pan. Add the brown sugar and lower the heat to a simmer. Put the lid on and let the chili cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Take the lid off, and add the masa marina. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, until you rich the thickness you like. Add in the liquid smoke to your taste. Take a bite of the chili and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Garnish with sour cream, sliced avocados, spring onions and cheddar cheese. Serve with tortilla chips, cornbread or on rice. Enjoy!


Popular posts from this blog

Raspberry Pomegranate Jam

Tis the season to be making homemade gifts! Pomegranates are in season and their juice is a festive deep ruby red color. I knew I had to make them into a jam to give away. Straight pomegranate flavor is a little tart for me; I added raspberries for the texture of their seeds and their sweetness. This is a very simple recipe to make and will yield 6 to 7 8 ounces jars of jam or 12 to 14 4 ounce jars, if you like to give away sample sizes during the holidays. Enjoy! Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice 1 cup mashed raspberries 7 cups sugar 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/75 ounce package Sure Jell Method: Sterilize your jars and lids. Set aside. In a heavy bottomed large stock pot, add the pomegranate juice, raspberries and butter. Mix well. Add in the sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil then stir in the Sure Jell. Allow to boil hard for 1 minutes. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into the sterile jars, twist on the lids and pr

Copycat Star Crunch

I really love Little Debbie snacks but I very rarely have them. I don’t like eating things that are full of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives. Plus, I greatly prefer to make things myself. My favorites have to be Oatmeal Creme Pies and Star Crunch. I am still looking for a perfect Oatmeal Creme Pie copycat recipe, but this recipe for Star Crunch is absolutely perfect. These cookies are a fantastic combination of caramel, chocolate, and crunchy crisped rice cereal. They keep in a sealed container for a week, or in the fridge for a month. Next time you crave  Little Debbie Star Crunch, try your hand at making your own! Ingredients: Recipe Credit: Adapted from Stella Parks 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon vanilla paste 3 ounces of milk chocolate chips (use a chocolate for baking; some versions of “eating” chocolate contain too much fat. When your combine this chocolate and the caramel together, the

Peek-a-boo Squares

My grandma, Mimi, taught me this recipe. I used to make this with her and my mother as a child. It is my very favorite dessert. It is incredibly easy to make, and even easier to eat. My favorite part of making this as a child was dusting every bar generously with snowy white powdered sugar.  My favorite version of this dessert uses canned blueberry pie filling; I vastly prefer Libby brand over the store brand. You can make blueberry pie filling from scratch with sugar, cornstarch, bleberries, etc. but using the canned stuff is easy in a pinch and is much for nostalgic for me. Plus, I don’t notice a vast improvement over my homemade blueberry pie filling and the Libby brand; it just takes me longer to put this dessert together.  I have been known to whip up a pan of these Friday night and have them disappear by Saturday afternoon. Be warned, these things are addictive! Ingredients: 3 cups of all-purpose flour 2 cups of granulated sugar 4 eggs 2 sticks of