Val’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ Chili

ChiliWinter has arrived in the heartland, and if you’re looking for the perfect comfort food to warm your soul and fill your belly, this chili can’t be beat. If the way to your ladies’ heart is through her stomach, this stew will have her wrapped around your finger — at least until Spring. If crock pots are your thing, just start it all on the stovetop, and transfer into the crock after the meat is browned for a delicious meal with little effort. Add your favorite garnishes (shredded cheese, sour cream or healthy plain Greek yogurt, tortilla chips or cornbread) and bring this chili to your next potluck! The possibilities are endless and oh so delicious.


3 tbsp canola or peanut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsps chili powder
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 lbs beef bottom round, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 can red chili beans
1 3/4 cups beef stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 slices Canadian bacon, minced
1 tbsp sugar
salt & ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a flameproof casserole or dutch oven. Add the onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil, and brown the meat over high heat, in batches if necessary.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, Canadian bacon, beans and sugar. Simmer, uncovered until the beef is tender, 1 3/4 hours, covering the pot when the mixture becomes thick. Season with salt and pepper.

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About Val

Valency was born in San Francisco to hippie parents, but is a Chicago girl through and through. Ten years of Catholic school helped her develop a finely-tuned bullshit detector, as well as a love of all sorts of Catholic kitsch. Valency isn't fond of labels. She is, however, fond of embracing her many paradoxes, and walking the fine lines between religion and politics, with an eye turned toward postmodern religion, feminist theology, and challenging patriarchy from inside religious institutions. She lives on the northside with her two daughters and two female cats, and is always looking for more ways increase the estrogen in her household.


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