After the backyard barbecue season — but before the turkey- and ham-filled holidays — chili gets its moment at the table.
We’re, of course, talking chili con carne, that delicious Tex-Mex melange of meat (beef, turkey or pork), beans (kidney, pinto or black), chopped vegetables (onions, peppers and tomatoes) and spices (chili powder, cumin and cayenne).
This one-pot meal is best when made at home, but if you haven’t got the time or inclination, here are seven restaurant versions that we think are hot stuff.
Traditional • Boston Deli
This eatery in the basement of Salt Lake City’s Boston Building has been a favorite downtown lunch spot for nearly two decades and the traditional Tex Mex chili is one of the reasons. Henry Carbajal, who started working at the restaurant in 1994 before becoming part owner in 2001, said the original owner developed the recipe that is still used today. It includes ground beef, kidney beans, green peppers, onions and red chili for spice. The $5 price is part of the allure of this bowl, which can be topped with grated cheddar and chopped onions and is served with a fresh roll.
Where • 9 Exchange Place, Salt Lake City; 801-355-2146. Open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With beer • Iggy’s Sports Grill
Beer is a perfect accompaniment to chili whether you drink it with your bowl or pour the brew right in the pot during cooking. The latter is what they do at the nine Iggy’s restaurants in Utah. Iggy’s signature Crimson Ale is cooked with ground beef, diced tomatoes, pinto beans, onions, jalapenos and cumin. “We’ll go through about two gallons of chili a day this time of year,” said Jan Thompson, the kitchen manager at the downtown location. You can also order a glass of Crimson Ale to wash it down.
Where • Visit www.iggyssportsgrill.com for locations and operating hours.
Thai-style • 8th and C Cafe at LDS Hospital
When Josh Taylor was asked to participate in this year’s annual Chili Affair, the executive chef at Salt Lake City’s LDS Hospital decided to go “way out of the box” for the Road Home fundraiser. “I’m really into Southeast Asian flavors and wanted to do something different.” The result was his Thai Chili de Cerdo, made with slow-roasted pork, yellow curry paste, coconut milk, chili garlic sauce and other spices. The dish earned him the “most original chili” award and prompted him to add it to the cafe’s regular soup rotation. A bowl is just $3.
Where • 8th Avenue and C Street, Salt Lake City; 801-408-1100. Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Heat-and-go • Harmons Grocery Store
The folks in the deli do all the browning, chopping and simmering, all you have to do is pick up a 16-ounce container in the refrigerated section of the store — where all the other premade foods are. The chili includes black beans, vegetables, spices and ground beef from the meat department. Don’t forget to stop by the bakery for some bread or crackers. The chili was on sale recently for $4 a container, but it normally sells for around $6.
Where • Visit www.harmonsgrocery.com for locations and operating hours.
Vegetarian chili • The Moab Brewery
After they bike the Slickrock Trail, hike to Delicate Arch or raft down the Colorado River, visitors and locals all enjoy this colorful chili with three kinds of beans — kidney, pinto and black — and a rainbow of vegetables: onions, red and green peppers, zucchini and corn. To balance out this spiciness, order the brewery’s signature Dead Horse Ale. Bowl $4.99 or cup $2.99.
Where • 686 S. Main, Moab; 435-259-6333. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
No beans • Crown Burgers
We already know that Crown Burger restaurants make great pastrami burgers and gyros. So it should be no surprise they make a delicious bowl of chili — without the bean — too. Your plastic spoon will stand straight up in this super thick concoction with tiny bits of peppers and onions and a nice kick. Serious carnivores can, of course, enjoy it over a hot dog. A generous sized cup is $4.50.
Where • Visit www.crown-burgers.com for locations and operating hours.
Turkey chili • Deer Valley Snow Park Lodge
The Southwest-style chili served at this Park City lodge is made with black beans — a nice change from the usual — and sweet corn. It’s thickened with masa harina, making it gluten free. Julie Wilson, Deer Valley’s food and beverage director, said the recipe came about some 25 years ago. “I was walking through the kitchen and saw chicken fajitas that we had over-produced for a banquet. I told the staff to make a chili with it. It tasted so good we thought skiers would like it.”
Where • 2250 Deer Valley Drive, Park City; 435-649-1000. Resort opens for the season on Dec. 7.
Moab Brewery’s vegetarian chili
½ cup corn oil
3 yellow onions, diced
2 red bell peppers, stems removed, seeded and diced
2 green bell peppers, stems removed, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons minced garlic
2 zucchini, cut into small rounds or quartered
3 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (28-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
1 ½ cups frozen corn
2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons ground oregano
¼ -½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ -½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ tablespoons salt
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the corn oil. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn and spices. Mix thoroughly and cook, uncovered, 20-30 minutes. Adjust salt as needed.
Servings • 10-12
Source • Moab Brewery
The Reluctant Gourmet, a popular food blog, claims that this recipe is identical to the one served at Deer Valley Resort.
2 cups dried black beans
10 cups water
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium Anaheim chiles, seeded, chopped
2/3 cup chopped red onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 large leek (white part only)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
¼ cup corn flour (masa harina)
2 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
4 ½ cups chicken stock
2 ¼ cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
Grated cheddar cheese
Soak black beans in large pot overnight. The next day drain and return to pot.
Seed and chop the chiles, chop the onion, celery, red pepper and leek.
Mince the garlic and get the rest of the ingredients ready to cook.
Add 10 cups water and pepper to the drained beans. Bring to a boil, simmer 1 ½ hours. Drain.
Melt butter in pot; add chilies, onion, celery, bell peppers, leek, garlic and oregano. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Add the corn flour and spices, cook 5 minutes.
Add the sugar and 4 cups stock and bring to simmer.
Puree 1 ¼ cups of the corn with the remaining ½ cup of stock. Add this to chili.
Add black beans, turkey and remaining cup of corn. Simmer all for 25 minutes.
Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, red onion, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
Servings • 8 to 10
Slow cooker Tex-Mex chili
You can also simmer on the stove.
3 pounds beef stew meat
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 (15-ounce) tomato sauce
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
¾ cup salsa verde
1 envelope chili seasoning
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese and minced fresh cilantro
In a large skillet, brown beef in oil in batches. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, tomato paste and salsa verde and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Garnish each serving with cheese and cilantro.
Servings • 12
Source: Taste of Home 2013