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Game Day Chili

Cook Time:
1 hr 40 mins
Prep Time:
40 mins

Chef notes

No other food is more synonymous than both fall and football than a pot of chili. Of course, we love chili because it's rich, warming and it has just enough spice to keep us wanting more. But chili is also perfect for game day because it can be made ahead of time and can be left over low heat during the game for your guests to return to. This crowd-pleasing chili is simple to make but has a special ingredient that sets it apart from other self-proclaimed "best" chilis — dried Mexican chiles that are easy to find at grocery stores. Whole dried red chilies make this chili like none other. I first made it in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where chiles are a cooking staple.

Technique tip: The chili can be made up to 3 days ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated; reheat gently until simmering before serving. Before soaking the dried New Mexico chiles, you can take the extra step of toasting the stemmed and deseeded chiles in a dry pan until the chiles are brittle. Toasting the chiles adds extra depth of flavor to the chili sauce. Often times, the water used to rehydrate the dried chiles can taste bitter, which is why it is discarded in the recipe.

Swap option: Consider swapping the ground beef out for ground turkey or plant-based ground meat substitutes. The beef broth can be subbed for chicken or vegetable broth. Or consider swapping out the ground beef for pork shoulder pieces and simmer an additional 30 minutes to make a classic carne adovada.


  • 9 dried red New Mexico or California chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 medium white onions, finely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • grated white cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, sour cream and corn tortillas or corn chips, to serve



In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chilies. Weigh down the chiles with a plate and soak for about 20 minutes, or until they soften slightly. Drain.


In a blender, puree the chiles and garlic with the broth. Season to taste with salt and set the sauce aside.


Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the canola oil, then add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until the beef is browned. Stir in the cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper, if using. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until tender.


Stir in the reserved chili sauce, the tomatoes and the vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until the sauce thickens slightly.


Stir in the beans. Cover and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the chili has thickened a little more. Season to taste with salt.


Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the cheddar cheese, scallions, yogurt and tortillas or chips on the side.