It’s Chili In The House

Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I wish I’d taken a picture of my neighbor’s little dog this morning as he was standing next to the car his master was trying to get started. He kept lifting his front paws off the ground..first one for a few seconds..then the other..trying, I suppose, to keep them from permanently freezing right to the icy pavement.  Unless they are pulling a sled in the Iditarod I’ve always thought owners putting coats and booties on their doggies was a little too precious but this poor pint-size pug could sure have used a couple pair..and a parka too.

I couldn’t believe the thermometer on Big Red as I backed out of the garage and headed  downtown to record a promo for Keloland. It went from ten above to ten below in ten seconds. My god..this is nuts. Its days like this when I like to make up a big batch of hot chili.(Hot as in temperature not on fire with peppers) I won’t say that I’m famous for my chili but people do seem to like it. In fact, way back when the South Dakota Beef Council was putting out cookbooks featuring favorite beef recipes from various personalities and politicians, I submitted my chili concoction and received lots of positive comments. I’m even told that the restaurant at Falls Park uses the recipe from that book.  So, when I got home, I started going through the cupboard to see if I had all the necessary ingredients to make a batch.  Hamburger..check, Onions & garlic..check, canned tomatoes and tomato soup..check. Chili powder and other spices..check, beans..both chili and kidney..check. I know, sounds pretty basic doesn’t it? I also know that Chili purists scoff at the notion of using beans. They also insist that real chili is made with chucks of meat not ground beef.  Well, I’ve had it that way and still prefer my own.

chili 001

There have been times when I’ve had to make my own chili powder when I ran out of the boughten stuff. It turned out great and helped me clean out some of the herbs and spices that have been in the cupboard since receiving them as a wedding gift 27 years ago.  I also make sure to use precisely 239 beans in my chili because if there was just one more it would be too farty!  Uffdah, I do apologize for that awful old joke but couldn’t resist.   So, Lund, what sets your chili apart from everyone elses? I think it’s probably the brown sugar.  I use quite a bit of it..maybe a half cup or more. I never measure.  That’s it. The rest is pretty much impromptu; for example today there was some left-over bloody Mary mix in the fridge so I tossed that in. Sometimes I’ll dice up some celery or green peppers and sauté that with the onions and garlic. I’ll add a half cup of wine if I have it and a squirt of yellow mustard if I remember. After that, it’s simply taste and add what you think it needs. Just now I thought it might need that shot of mustard but only had honey mustard and used it. I wished I hadn’t. Hopefully, another hour on simmer and it will blend right in. Oh, who am I kiddin’ I can’t wait an hour.  

chili 003

I’ll bet many of you have a favorite chili recipe you’d care to share..please feel free to do so in the comments.

Keep warm and bon appetite!


  1. Jeff says:

    I use brown sugar in mine too Doug. I love that little bit of bitter-sweetness! Something else you might try some time> toss in a half cup of coffee. You’d be surprised how that adds to it (and I’m not a coffee drinker).

  2. Suzan says:

    Yum! Wish I had a bowl right now. I have your recipe and similarly throw in whatever I find in the fridge that sounds good. Haven’t tried honey mustard. Then again, I never have that on hand! A little Beano before a big bowl sounds like the perfect combo. Glad you’re home safe and sound.

  3. Karla K says:

    Haven’t used brown sugar, but I might have to try it – chili is something you can always experiment with! I use home canned tomatos (with celery, onion & green pepper in them)…makes a big difference in the flavor! I also throw in some cumin and a bay leaf and sometimes a 1/2 jar of homemade salsa (for a little extra zip)….simmer all afternoon in the crockpot – yum!!

  4. Sweeps says:

    I, too, use the Kitchen Sink Chili method, which is exactly what I did on Sunday afternoon before the game. In addition to the beans, chili powder, tomato paste (instead of soup–that’s for taverns), a jar of home-canned tomatoes, and an onion, I use equal parts hamburger and pork sausage and add a couple teaspoonsful of cumin. Oh my gosh, it was one of my best batches ever! Serve with homemade cornbread and honey, and it just doesn’t get any better than that!

  5. ahmal al edel says:

    May the tingle of a thousand peppers tickle your tongue and bless your brow with beads of sweat on this frigid evening when snuggling with your family in the bosom of your camel.
    At our house we too have found the satisfying sustenance of a a few bowls of what you call chili to be of value during the winter. My sisters Fatima, Nonfatima, and Lofatima bring out the cauldron and place it on an open flame. Your readers who love chili, should try our favorite, goat meat. Since the foundations of the world, goat meat has been the protein of choice for the fathers of civilization. The taste and texture cannot be duplicated. We cannot find the herb that gives our chili a “kick’ in your country, so we have had to settle for habenaro. The more the better! I will guarantee that you will turn the thermostat down and save money! At the same time, your taste buds will experience a thrill and awakening they have never known. You will beg for another bowl, and even be willing to sell your birthright for it. I received the recipe from a direct descendant of the Prophet himself, so you just know it has to be wholesome and good for you. There is no need for Jihad when enjoying a bowl of this goodness.

  6. A Fan says:

    Hi Doug,
    My kids call my chili “2 Chili”. 2 lbs. burger, 2 med cans Mrs. Grimes beans in chili sauce, 2 med onions, 2 tsp chili powder, & 2 quarts home canned tomatoes (makes all the difference). I’ve tried to sneak in brown sugar but they always figure it out and have a fit. Recently, I’ve begun adding whole kernal corn also. I like mine with crushed fritos and cottage cheese.

    Love reading your blogs

  7. Roy says:

    1 lb hamburger
    kidney beans (one can)
    cummin seed
    chili powder
    salt and pepper
    vinegar (one capful)
    1 1/2 cans water
    2 Cans tomato sauce

    Brown hamburger and onions, drain, add other ingredients, simmer slowly.

    Now I do it a bit different. I usually make two pounds hamb..don’t always have real onion so use minced or such from seasoning section…..don’t use kidney beans cause feel taste is too sharp, will use chili beans instead… will still use just one can beans for 2lbs…. don’t use salt…..same amt vinegar…..make it 2 1/2 cans water….and 2 cans of tomato sauce or 3 little cans…Takes awhile..have to add cummin and chili powder to taste….have to let it simmer for awhile to see how it really will taste…. sometimes no matter what you do it tastes like crap….sometimes when taste is bad…reheat the next day adding what you think might fix it and, somtimes it works….pretty high tech huh?

  8. Anne D says:

    I always use brownsugar,catsup,beans,hamburger,tomato sauce and crushed tomatos a can of diced green chilis,cumin,chili powder,redpepper,cheyenne pepper,garlic,onion,salt and pepper ofcourse! I tried making it with a bottle of beer once but nobody like it and asked me to stick with what works :) I love your blogs!

  9. Kelly says:

    We always put jalepenos in ours. We saute them with the onions. It gives it a little more heat but not that bad.

  10. Per Pål P says:

    It looks fantastic…. How was it ? How about the “gas factor” ?
    The only thing I’d add….To give it a little Norwegian Twist…a little Linie Aquavit…while browning the meat…And…then most important…a big dollop of butter on top…to swirl in. MMMMMMM
    Nice idea on a cold day…. Per Pål Peterson

  11. Carol S. says:

    Your recipe sounds extremely similar to mine, which I just kind of honed over the years. The brown sugar makes all the difference, I agree–tomato-based dishes without it are just too tart.
    Also the tomato soup. Chili purists would probably scoff at it, but it works better than anything else I’ve tried, such as tomato sauce and tomato paste.
    Enjoyed your travel blogs too and am glad you and Linda made it back alive!

  12. LeAnn says:

    I also agree that the brown sugar makes a big difference, but I would get shot if I put in 1/2 cup though. For my base I either use beef broth or a can of v-8 juice plus the home canned tomatoes and tomatoe soup. For a different twist use italian sausage, refried beans. green chillies, cream chicken soup alot of cumin and chilli powder plus all the other stuff you put in chilli. And we also like it with tortilla chips and corn bread with honey!!!

  13. Denny says:

    Check with your daughter Patty—I heard from a fellow bus employee that she recently won the annual church Grand Championship Chile Cookoff–

  14. grouse says:

    Did you offer that poor little doggy a nice warm taste of the chili? My cupcake’s recipe would be a little too intense to offer the poor creature or the devil himself, but something warm and soothing would probably help the little guy out. I always remember our old farm dog Skip, Skippy, Skibikner, or whatever else we decided to call him on these sub-zero days. The dog never spent a night in the house in all his 17 years. In severe weather, I guess he always found a tunnel in the haystack or hay bales. I do remember that in advance of a weather forecast that called for billions of inches of snow and temperatures at -a billion and winds of a billion miles per hour, my dad took pity on ol’ Skip and put a gunny sack on the concrete floor of the granary and locked him in. If dogs could cuss, I’m betting that ol’ Skip cursed my dad in profane doggy language throughout the night. But, he lived and seemed none the worse for wear the next day….or maybe it was two. Ol’ Skip and dad were never real close after that.

  15. kawalski says:

    the wife left me alone in the kitchen one nite and i made chille. put in a little cinnamon. not much but just enough for a little taste but not really able to put your finger on.

  16. Nancy says:

    everything sounds good cept for brown sugar

  17. Paul Farmer says:

    Drunk Deer Chili. Google it.

  18. ASHLEY says:

    Oh Yum!!! That sounds like a great idea for supper on this, snowy again, day! Will try a little brown sugar in mine. Thanks for the idea!

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