Spicy Game Day Chili Beans


Having been a resident of San Diego for so many years, it’s impossible not to get caught up in our Chargers even though there always seems to be just as many fans in the stadium for the opposing team as there are Chargers fans.  Lots of people who grew up elsewhere find their way here because of the weather and they rarely leave, but manage to hang on to their old teams enough to drive the rest of us crazy.  Inevitably, a comment is shouted about something to the effect of, “If you’re loving your blinking bleebs so much, then why don’t you go back to where you came from…” when the visitors are winning, and their San Diego fans are loudly proclaiming their superiority on the field.  Ah, the joys of being sports fans!

Being married to the most intense sports fan you’d ever imagine has helped me understand more about football than I’d have ever known otherwise.  Unfortunately, he’s more of a cup-half-empty guy when it comes to sports, and suffers from knowing way too much — using all the statistics he naturally holds in his brain to calculate possibilities for their athletic demise.   It’s a sight to behold, watching his intensity each week, often standing in front of the television with his arms crossed instead of slouched in a chair with a beer.

He’s not much of a beer guy.  He likes Coke — and hot tea.

But he’ll be at the game today, so I’ll be home with our 16-year-old, cheering for our team with my usual it’s not over ’till the fat lady sings attitude when it comes to our Chargers.  And no….I’m not planning on being the singing fat lady.

To spice things up a bit, I happen to have a bet going with a foodie friend Peter over at Kalofagas regarding the outcome of this game today.  His pick is Indy, and I’m saying no way on that one.  The Chargers are going all the way.  They’re so due.  Over due.  Peter and I have agreed that should out team lose, we must admit our defeat, worship the winning team, and celebrate the winning city.  I sure hope he’s studying about San Diego right now, because he’s going to have a lot to write about.

But now for some real spice.

How about a big ol’ pot o’ chili for the game?


Indy Colts Helmet

Game Day Chili Beans

3 T olive oil
1-1/2 lbs ground sirloin
1-1/2 lbs ground pork
2 brown onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chilis, seeded and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Reshampatti chili
2 T ground cumin
2 T ground coriander
1 T sugar
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. Mexican oregano, dried
3 c. beef broth
28 oz. can pinto beans, juice included
28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
5 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
1 c. salsa de chili fresca
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 T cider vinegar
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste


In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat oil and cook the pork and beef over high heat, allowing it to sit as long as possible to brown before breaking it up.

Add onions, red pepper, and chilis to the pot and cook until onions are softened.  Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, sugar, thyme, oregano, and cook about 10 minutes, until well blended and very fragrant.

Pour in broth, beans with juice, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, chipotles, and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer over very low heat at least 1-1/2 hours, making sure to stir occasionally.

Before serving, taste, and add salt to your liking along with the juice of 1 lime.

Serve with some freshly chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese.  Extra lime slices and a hand full of tortilla chips are perfect.


  • I don’t have a favorite chili recipe so am forever looking for a new one.  I found the original recipe for Grant Achatz’ Beef Chili with Beans at Food & Wine, and although I kept the “bones” of his recipe, there was no way I could include the amount of heat and have anyone but myself, my sister, and her husband be able to eat it.  His recipe called for 6 T of two different kinds of chili powder and 1 tsp. cayenne in addition to the chipotles in adobo and some black pepper.  That’s quite a bit o’ burn.
  • Reshampatti chili powder can be found at the Indian grocers or on line.  I had some in my pantry because of an Indian dinner party my friends and I had last year.  It’s much more spicy than regular chili powder, and bright red in color.  Although I also have chipotle powder, which isn’t as spicy, I decided not to use it since I’d be adding the chipotles in adobo.  When I’m deciding which spices to include, I taste them plain.  It’s the only way to judge without spoiling an entire dinner.
  • Speaking of the chipotles in adobo — chipotles are dried jalapeno peppers.  Adobo is a rich tomato-based sauce they’re marinated in.  You can find them canned in many grocery stores (Embassa label) or on line.
  • I choose lean ground meat for good flavor and little fat that rises to the surface during cooking and needs to be ladled off.
  • Salsa de chili fresco is a delicious hot tomato sauce and another canned product (El Pato) that can be found in the grocery store or on line.  Plain tomato sauce will work just fine if you’re not into heat.
  • I love beans in chili, and although this is very good, I’d add another can, but without the additional liquid.  It has a tendency to be a little sweet, and I think that would spoil the balance of heat in this.
  • The heat in this chili is way back in the mouth on the sides of your tongue.  It’s a slow, warm burn that takes a while to build.  We all classified it as “hot” but those who don’t prefer spice in their food were still able to enjoy it.
  • Salty chips intensifies the heat, so by all means, use those tortilla chips to scoop up the chili and don’t forget to squeeze that lime.
  • Everyone was quite pleased with this recipe, and as often happens, it was even better the next day.


Okay, everyone, wish me luck in my bet.  Goooooooo Chargers!