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  • crystaljohnson

Fall is here - Chili Time!

Once the temperature drops a little at the very beginning of fall I start thinking about making chili. I love that everyone has their own method or special ingredient. I think there are as many versions of chili as there are people making it.

Since we eat this a lot in fall and winter I've tried it with several kinds of wine and I have a few favorites.

It's so interesting to read about and hear what wines people prefer paired with foods. It varies so widely and i'm always up for trying a new combo. Check out these Sommelier recommendations.

I love chili with Rosé or Chenin Blanc.

Rosé: I really enjoy the ones from the Chinon region of the Loire Valley, France, South Africa (Boschendal's The Rose Garden rosé is a favorite ) and Spain.

Something about the refreshing quality of rosé pairs well to me with flavorful chili.

Chenin Blanc: Typically a bit sweet - and I am not a sweet wine fan - unless it is paired with a spicy or fatty/fried meal. I keep hearing this advice from "wine people" in general. Pair a spicy dish (Thai, for example) with a wine that has some acidity and a tiny bit of sweetness. I've found great Chenin Blanc from South Africa and also the Vouvray region of France.

Pork Chili


1 lb ground pork

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

32 oz beef broth (I use low-sodium)

1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15.5 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15.5 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 T chili powder

1/2 T smoked paprika

1 t dry mustard powder

1 t cumin

1 t coriander

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t crushed red pepper

1 T cocoa powder

1 double shot espresso

Salt and pepper


1-Brown pork over medium-high heat in a pot large enough hold a full batch of chili. A dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot is best.

2-Once pork is mostly browned, add in the chopped pepper and onion along with all the spices. Continue to cook until the onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I start with one tablespoon at this point.

3-Add the beef broth, drained beans, tomatoes and espresso shot. Give everything a big stir and wait for it to bubble.

4-Once the pot starts boiling, reduce to medium heat so that there is a constant simmer. I typically taste a spoonful of broth at this point to see how the salt level is. I usually add a bit more (1/2 T more) at this point - but not too much as the liquid will reduce and concentrate the flavors.

5-After about an hour of simmering the sauce should have reduced somewhat. I stir the pot every now and then. The heat can be adjusted if too high.

6-Once an hour or so has passed, give it a taste and add salt if needed. I typically add a bit of pepper at this point as well. Remove from heat and let cool a bit before serving. You could even do this in serving bowls if you need it to cool faster. This gives the chili time to thicken up.

7-Serve with your favorite chili toppings. We love diced red onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.


-This chili has a good amount of liquid in it. I find it is better on day 2 with that liquid included. If you prefer a thicker version-reduce the broth and try 24 oz to start. You can always add more - even the following day as you reheat it.

-The beauty of chili is that you can't go wrong. If you are missing some spices - just try it with what you have. I sometimes add chopped celery leaves along with the onions and peppers to add more flavor.


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