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Most people think of chili as cold weather comfort food, something to serve at your Super Bowl Party, not me, chili makes me think of Aunt Kim, and when I think of Aunt Kim I think about her cabin on the lake in Cooperstown and Summer.


Years and years ago she shared her “recipe” with me, I have tweaked it a bit, and now I bring Aunt Kim’s Chili with me on our Summer Vacation … my brother makes it at the Firehouse … all of us do it a little different, some different ingredients, but all inspired by Aunt Kim.

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Ingredients … ISH

  • Chop Meat (the fattier the better) ~ I have made it with Ground Turkey Thighs too…
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • 2 Jalapeños Peppers … what type and how many depends on how HOT you like your chili
  • 3 large cloves of Garlic … again how many depends on how garlicky you like your chili
  • A good dark beer (or what ever you have on hand)
  • 1 can each Red Kidney & Pinto Beans
  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
  • Chili Seasoning
  • Cayenne
  • Salt/Pepper/Sugar

Technique …

  • Brown the meat!!!!  Brown the meat well … all liquid should be gone, and lovely little brown bits should be stuck to the pot.  Don’t forget salt & pepper … SEASON AS YOU GO
  • Remove the browned meat from the pan.

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  • Blend onion, garlic, and peppers in the food processor.  Big thanks my brother’s firehouse for this idea, helps to make sure that no one gets a giant piece of pepper or onion.  Add this mixture to the HOT pan after the meat is removed.  The liquid from the veggies will deglaze the pan, and all of those lovely brown bits will scrape off the sides of the pot.  Cook until the veggies look dry.

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  • Add your dry spices … I don’t know how much.  Sorry!  A few tablespoons of Chili Seasoning (I make my own blend), some cayenne, and a teaspoon or so of sugar, cook until they smell really good.

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  • Deglaze with your beer … and don’t forget a taste for the Chef!

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  • Add beans (drained), tomatoes, and the cooked meat back.  If you need more liquid add some hot water …


  • Let simmer on a low flame until you just can’t take the amazing smell anymore and absolutely need to have a bowl.

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It is all about developing the flavors and good ingredients.  Don’t forget to season as you go, SUPER IMPORTANT … you can always make it spicier with hot sauce when you serve it, but you CANNOT take the SPICY away once it is there (believe me!), so add a bit at a time, taste and adjust.

This time I made a double batch to take away with us on our family vacation to The Shore, it is expected.  Chili always tastes better the next day right, and it tastes even better after a day at the beach!  I freeze it flat in FoodSaver bags so I can use it to help insulate the coolers … probably next Wednesday or Thursday morning we will all be sitting around wondering what we will do for dinner and remember YEAH AUNT KIM’S CHILI!!!!!

Thanks Aunt Kim!

~ Peace