Diva’s Chili



I don’t have a long story to tell with this recipe. It doesn’t have any kind of generational history. Admittedly, I originally learned to cook chili from my mom’s recipe, which I’m pretty sure is based on this. But mom got me started cooking her recipe when I was a child. I’ve never been one to stick to a recipe. I like to get creative. And so, my version has changed and evolved, and now, it’s most definitely my own creation.

I’ve won two chili cook-offs with this recipe. Although they were small contests, I don’t think there’s anyone who is going to deny that this is some damned amazing chili. By publishing the recipe, in some way, I feel like I’m giving away the family jewels. However, I believe in sharing the source and so, I will….

Diva’s Chili

  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion (white, yellow or red are all fine)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 habañero
  • 1 handful crimini mushrooms
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 16 oz kidney beans
  • 24 oz tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
  • 1 large tomato
  • salt
  • pepper


Chop an onion and heat up a very large skillet. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Stir and sweat until onion is translucent.

Chop bell peppers and toss into skillet. Chop garlic, jalapeño and habañero very finely and add to pan. Stir. Then add chopped mushrooms.

Stir in ground beef and add salt, pepper, garlic and 1 tbsp of chili powder. Brown mixture.

Drain kidney beans and add beans, tomato sauce, red wine and other ingredients except for tomato. Taste and add more spices if needed. Simmer for ten minutes and add chopped tomato. Simmer another fifteen minutes or so.

Cool and serve with a few strands of grated cheddar and maybe a dollop of sour cream. Buttered french bread is great with this too!

Cook + Prep Time: 45-60 min
Feeds: 6-8
Notes: This is really spicy. For those of you that like things milder, cut out the jalapeño, habañero and cut the chili powder down to about 2 tbsp. For those of you that like it hot, try adding in chipotles.


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