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Alabama Recipes: Chili

Chili_Updated Chili_pot2

Fight off the chill with Chili

There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day than a warm bowl of chili. It may be thick; it may be thin. It may be mild, with just a hint of spice, or it may burn the taste buds right off your tongue. There are countless ways to make chili, and everyone thinks theirs is best.

The quest to find the perfect recipe has spawned myriad chili cook off contests held around the country every year. There’s a National Chili Day (on Feb. 26) and even an International Chili Society, and according to the folks who organize it, chili has a long history in America, with the first batch being made in the early 1700s by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands. It became popular in our country as an easy but filling dish that cowboys could whip up over a campfire out on the range.

Today, regional specialties have popped up, leading to an often-heated argument over the addition or deletion of beans. Many in the Deep South include legumes, but in Texas, if it’s got beans, it ain’t chili. Folks in the heartland actually serve it over spaghetti noodles. No matter how you make it, when you do, go ahead and make a lot. It’s simple to create this hearty one-pot-wonder, leftovers freeze great, and it can be enjoyed as is or as a topping for hot dogs or burgers, even baked potatoes. So when the weather is chilly, follow suit and cook up a big batch. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from folks in Alabama.

– Jennifer Kornegay

P.S. My favorite way to eat chili is in the form of Chili Pie. It’s nothing fancy. Just put a layer of Frito corn chips on the bottom of a wide shallow bowl, top with chili, add some shredded cheddar and a few slices of pickled jalapeno.
Plop a dollop of sour cream on top and, if you like, a sprinkle of chopped scallions, too.

Cook of the Month

Barbara Frasier, Sand Mountain EC

Chili Supreme

  • 1 12-ounce package bacon
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 15-ounce can tomatoes with garlic seasoning
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, plus 1 can water
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans
  • 1½ tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dash cayenne pepper
Fry bacon until crisp in a 2-quart heavy pot, then remove. Stir in pepper, onion and beef and cook on medium high until beef is brown. Drain grease. Add crumbled cooked bacon and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Barbara came up with her “Chili Supreme” by taking the best of several other recipes she had tried. “I do that a lot,” she said. “I love to cook, so I’ll take the things I like from a few recipes and leave out the things I don’t like to create my own.”

The addition of bacon adds a smoky note to the background of this dish that enhances but doesn’t overpower the other flavors, and Barbara gave her new twist on traditional chili its name because she thinks it describes the taste. “It really is good!” she said.

“It’s the only chili I make now, and I’ll only eat homemade chili. The stuff in the can shouldn’t even be called chili.”


Chunky Beef Chili

  • 4 pounds boneless chuck roast cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper

Brown meat in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove meat but leave drippings in the pot. Add chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for two minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook five minutes. Return beef to the pot. Stir in broth and next nine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally 1.5 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with desired garnishes like crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped onion.

Harold Batchelor, Covington EC

Firehouse Chili

  • 1 package of lean ground sirloin or lean ground pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon Southern Flavor garlic seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers (green, yellow and red)
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 package chili seasoning mix
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomatoes with green chili peppers (Rotel or equivalent)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can dark or light red kidney beans
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice squeezed from 1 fresh lime

Brown the ground meat with the seasoning, add fresh peppers and onions to sauté into the meat mixture. Add tomatoes and canned ingredients. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions for toppings. Really good with tortilla chips or cornbread!

Linda Daniel, Baldwin EMC

Easy “2” Make Chili

  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 cans chili or red beans (un-drained)
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • Hot water
  • 2 ounces chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 2 ounces hot sauce (or to taste)

Brown the meat until about halfway done, then add the chopped onions. Cook until the meat is brown, then drain. Put the meat and the remaining ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours or more.

Mike Veazey, Joe Wheeler EMC


White Chili

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans
  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, sliced thin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion, sautéed
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 11-ounce cans white shoepeg corn
  • 1 10-ounce can diced Rotel tomatoes

Mix all ingredients and simmer approximately 20 minutes after cheese melts.

Jean Thompson, Pioneer EC

Kay’s Famous Tex-Mex Chili

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small minced onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can petite-diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can dark kidney beans
  • 1 can light kidney beans
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 pound hamburger meat or beef tips

In a pot, brown your choice of hamburger or beef tips with the minced onion, then drain excess fat. Rinse kidney and black beans, drain corn, and add all the ingredients including spices to the pot, stirring occasionally on medium high heat until beans are tender. Takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to simmer until done.

Kayla Davis, North Alabama EC

Char’s Cinnamon Chili

  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ ounce bittersweet chocolate, finelychopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, finely shredded (about 3/4 cup)

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add beef and chopped onion.

Stir in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, red pepper, chocolate, garlic, and tomato sauce. Partially cover and cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in kidney beans; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate pot, cook pasta. Drain and combine cooked pasta, ¼ cup water and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until water evaporates and pasta is lightly browned, stirring occasionally (about 12 minutes). Coarsely chop noodles. Serve chili with pasta and cheese.

Charlotte Petre, Covington EC

Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines:

  • March Garlic January 15
  • April Greens February 8
  • May Chicken Salad March 8


Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014
Montgomery, AL 36124

We welcome your recipes!

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month.