Chef John’s Perfect Chili Recipe

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chili and cornbread 2

Chef John’s Perfect Chili Recipe

Course: Main Courses, Soups
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili, Southwest Cuisine, Super Bowl Recipes
John knows Southwestern cuisine like no other Minnesotan. His chili recipe has a perfect blend of flavor, hint of saucy spice and just enough meat to satisfy a large group. John developed this one for the cold winters he grew up weathering and we couldn’t love it more – except maybe with some honey-drenched cornbread- stay tuned for that recipe!
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John’s Super Chili

  • 1 cup Dried kidney beans soaked overnight
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 2 Merguez sausages or Spicy Italian
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups Yellow onions about 2 med. onions
  • 1 large red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Harissa
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle powder
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried


  • Drain and the beans and transfer to a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil with 4 cups water and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  • While the beans are cooking, sauté the ground beef and merguez sausage in a hot pan. Season the meat with a little salt and pepper, then drain off the excess liquid. Set the meat mixture aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and sauté until caramelized – about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook just until golden – about 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste. Stir, and then sprinkle the sugar, herbs and spices over the mixture. Add the tomatoes, and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the ground beef and merguez. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.