Fall presents a great opportunity to pull out some nice, thick hearty soups. One of my favorites is Potato Corn Chowder (you can see my recipe here), but another favorite is chili. I love how versatile it is and how I can tailor it to fit whatever group I am with. Vegetarian? No problem! Don’t eat red meat? Make it a white chicken chili!

There are a couple of tips for producing award-winning chili – the first advice comes from my dear Mother – she always says “Chili is always better the next day”. Good point Mom! Now I try to make my chili a day ahead and let the flavors come together overnight before re-heating on the stove the day we’re actually going to eat it.  The other point came from some friends who compete at the Terlingua International Chili Championship – if you look at the recipes you will see a couple of common ingredients: unsweetened bakers chocolate (just about a 1/2 ounce) and a pinch of cinnamon! I know these are not traditionally thought of as “chili flavors” but you dont actually taste them, their presence just allows the flavors of the other ingredients to come together in perfect harmony!

Here is one of my favorite chili recipes, but dont stop here – add, change, modify and make it your own!

Scott’s Saucy Secret Chili
2lbs lean beef
1lb Ground Italian Sausage
2 Tsp vegetable oil
1/2 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 Sweet Onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia) finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves
1 Can Beef Broth (14.5oz)
1 Tsp Oregano
8 Tbl Gebhardt Chili Powder
1 Can Tomato Sauce (8oz)
1 Can Ro*Tel Fire Roasted Tomatoes
3 Med. Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce coarsely chopped
2 Tbls Adobo Sauce
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbl Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 oz. Unsweetened chocolate, shaved
1 Can Pinto Beans (14oz), Washed and rinsed
1 Can Northern Beans (14oz), washed and rinsed


Two Days Before Serving:
Cut the beef into very small, bite-size pieces. Place in gallon size ziplok bag with Worcestershire sauce to marinate refrigerated overnight.

Day Before Serving:
Brown the sausage in a skillet, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Heat oil in a large stock pot, add the beef to brown, then add the sausage.
In the skillet that the sausage was cooked in, cook the onions and garlic until translucent – then transfer to pot. Add the broth and oregano – reduce heat to a low boil, add chili powder and cook for 15 minutes. Add the Ro*Tel tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Cook for one hour on low heat, stirring often. Add the Chili powder and simmer for another 25 minutes on very low heat. Turn up the heat to a low boil and add the salt, brown sugar, cider and shaved chocolate pieces. Cook until chocolate and brown sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to simmer. Add the beans and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator overnight – its always better the next day!

Day of Serving:
Reheat on stove or place in crockpot to heat.