Chauvinist Chile. No, I didn't make that up.
I’m really into any cookbook that’s made up of people’s favorite recipes. You know, Junior League, Rotary Club, local church or any kind of community cookbooks. What these books mostly are is an agglomeration of ladies’ time tested favorite recipes. Recipes that have been marched out to dozens of family dinners, parties, and potlucks. These are the recipes you ask for a copy of, and back in the day that would’ve meant a 3x5 recipe card likely handwritten by you or your friend.
So, one day I was milling through my friend’s mom’s cookbook, Calling All Cooks four, published by the Telephone Pioneers of America, Alabama Chapter No. 34 (who knew that was a thing?), and my eyes fell on this recipe for something called Chauvinist Chili. Obviously, my mind started racing. So many questions! Chief among them, what makes it chauvinist? Anyway, I decided to find out, because I love chili, and it looked like a pretty solid recipe.
I basically couldn’t stop talking about it, because the name was blowing my mind, and as it turned out the chili is damn good. One of the many days I was like WHY WHY WHY? about the name, one of my friends said, I think the expression is male chauvinist pig - and suddenly I got it; it’s named for the pork in the recipe. So no, it’s not actually sexist chili.
Since then, I have made this chili probably 7 or 8 times. Considering it makes a generous amount, and I feed only my husband and I, this basically means no less than 7 or 8 times I have been willing to eat chili at least once, sometimes twice a day, for about a week to 10 days, depending on whether or not he is on a job. Background info: in the movie biz they feed you at work and you keep crazy hours, which means when my husband is working, he basically never eats at home. This is not to say there haven't been some late night chili snacks at the end of the work day for hubs when there's a pot of Chauvinist Chile in the house. Point is, if he's working, this pot of chili really lasts me a LONG time and I am just fine with that. Plus, every time we have a bowl of it we're both like Daaamn, this chili is SO GOOD. Seriously, every time. Granted, I go on about food, but Chauvinist Chili has it on lock is all I am saying.
Here’s what I’ve learned from several 1-2 week long Chauvinist Chili mono-diets:
- This chili is so good it actually needs no toppings. (I know, crazy, maybe even sacrilege, but there it is).
- If you're a toppings purist, it's still good with cheese and sour cream, and green onions actually add something really nice.
- It’s not bad over rice, but again, this chili stands on it’s own. I haven't yet tried it with a fried egg on top, hmm...
- Marsala wine or Sherry work as well as red wine, but a strong cheap red has a little more pop. It can be old, oxidized cooking wine. I don't drink, so that's the only kind I've got in the house.
- The Worcestershire sauce is really what makes it.
- Spicy pork sausage works, so does regular pork sausage. And If you're into fennel, Italian sausage is fine too.
- You can leave out the jalapeños if you’re not into spicy, or you're feeding kids.
- You can leave out the celery seeds, if you like. It doesn’t make a huge difference, so don’t go buying celery seeds just for this chili.
- I've used both chopped or whole tomatoes in the can. I've also mixed them. Both kinds are good. I like the whole ones better, but you may have to mash them around with a knife in the pot to get them a little smaller - there's a limit to how big you want your chunks of tomato to be in your bowl of chili.
- Try using different bean combinations, they’re all good. At least one white bean makes it prettier.
- You can drain the beans, or not. I’ve done it both ways.
- It’s really fun to use the name, I’m making Chauvinist Chili tonight, wanna come over?
- Just eat this chili; it’s amazing.
- 1/2-1 pound bacon
- 1 pound lean ground beef - fattier is fine but you'll be pouring off most of the fat so may as well get lean if you can
- 1 pound pork sausage, casing removed - breakfast, Italian, or hot Italian all work. If you can get loose pork sausage, even better - less work
- 1 or 2 large white or yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 - 4 garlic cloves smashed, pressed, or finely chopped
- 1 cup strong red wine
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dry mustard, hot or mild
- 1 tsp celery seeds (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 (28) oz cans whole or diced tomatoes or 1 each
- 1-2 tbs chopped pickled jalapeños (optional)
- 1 (15) oz can kidney beans
- 1 (15) oz can pinto beans
- 1 (15) oz can garbanzo beans
- Cook the meat. In any order you like, in batches, cook the 3 different meats in the dutch oven, draining off the drippings between, and using some of the reserved fat to cook the next batch of meat. I usually do the bacon first, as I like to keep the extra bacon fat in a jar in the fridge, and then bacon can cool while you do the other meats. After it's cooled you'll crumble or chop the bacon. Once cooked, set all the meats aside in bowls, or in one large bowl.
- Get the masala going. Using some of your leftover drippings, cook the onions and garlic over low heat until the onions are turning translucent, taking care to not burn the garlic. Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add all spices and simmer about 10 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and jalapeños.
- Add the reserved meats. Stir in the reserved meats and bring all to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes, giving it the occasional stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add your beans and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat again and simmer for about an hour with lid on.
Refrigerates beautifully for at least a week, and like all great soups and stews, just gets yummier the longer it sits.
Adapted from a recipe from The Telephone Pioneers of America cookbook Calling All Cooks four. Original recipe contributed by Sarah Spratt of the Anniston Council.
Chauvinist Chili is pretty foolproof. I usually use my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset dutch oven, and it's full to the top of the pot. My slightly larger 7 1/4 quart Le Creuset dutch oven is a more comfortable fit. The recipe says it serves 10-12, but since I have only ever fed myself (and hubs) with this, I'll let you be the judge. You could very easily cut this recipe in half and have a less overwhelming quantity of chili, if you're not yet sure about the Chauvinist Chili Cleanse. Even a small serving goes a long way because it is a VERY hearty stew.
PS. Thanks to Sarah wherever she is because this chili is SO GOOD.