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Say Hello To Chili Weather

One of my favorite things about the cooler seasons is warm, wonderful comfort foods, and my personal favorite being a hearty bowl of chili. Chili is such a versatile dish, as it can be spiced up on toned down according to taste. It is also a superb vehicle for savory toppings. Experimenting with a variety of cheeses, herbs, sour cream and cornbread toppings will customize this dish to just about anyone’s liking.

So in anticipation of the chilly days to come, we offer this collection of three favorite chili recipes. The first recipe was contributed by Aham Amachi, Manager of Operations here at the Philadelphia Catering Company, and one of the finest chefs I know. This recipe is wonderful if you have some time to devote to preparing your chili, and a nice crowd to enjoy it. It is worthy of a special occasion, and is sure to impress with its rich, complex flavors.

The second recipe in the collection uses a slow cooker method of preparation. It goes together quickly, and is a family favorite. The beauty of the slow cooker is the “fix it and forget it” philosophy. Assemble the ingredients early in the day, and come home to dinner waiting for you. Cooking time can be reduced by setting your slow cooker on high, or let it go all day long on low. Either way, it is delicious.

The third recipe, Express Turkey & Bean Chili, is a variation of the traditional beef chili. Using your choice of ground turkey or chicken, it is lighter than the beef variety. This recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal, as it uses simple, fresh ingredients and comes together in about a half an hour. You can prep your toppings while it is simmering away.


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Aham’s Beef Chili

3 lbs. cubed chuck roast
3 lbs. 80/20 ground chuck
2 large onions medium dice
3 green peppers medium dice
3 red peppers medium dice
3 yellow peppers medium dice
2 cups roasted garlic
2-12oz cans black beans
2-12oz cans red kidney beans
2-12oz cans pinto beans
16oz tomato paste
1 1/2 quart diced tomato (canned is fine)
2 28 oz cans crushed tomato
2-12oz bottles Yards Tavern Porter or your favorite porter
2-12 oz bottles Yards Tavern Ale or your favorite ale
1 1/2 cups ground cumin
1/2 cup granulated garlic
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup dry mustard
2 bunches chopped cilantro
1 1/2 lbs. unsweetened dark chocolate
1 tablespoon dried habanero chili
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Classic Slow Cooker Chili

1 lb boneless round steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large yellow onion chopped (about 1 cup)
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 TBSP chili powder
2 TSP ground cumin
1/4 TSP dried oregano
1/4 TSP ground cinnamon 1 cup frozen corn (Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn recommended)
1 large green pepper cut into 1/4 inch pieces
19 oz can red kidney beans – rinsed and drained

Topping ideas: chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, chopped red or green onion, rice, lime wedges, crumbled cornbread, tortilla chips.

Express Turkey & Bean Chili

1 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped & seeded poblano pepper
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (you can substitute ground chicken)
1 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP ground cumin
1/4 TSP salt
1/4 TSP freshly ground black pepper
1 19 oz can cannellini beans – rinsed & drained
1 14.5 oz can undrained diced tomatoes
14 oz can chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Topping ideas: chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, chopped red or green onion, rice, lime wedges, crumbled cornbread, tortilla chips.


Aham’s Beef Chili

1. In a large stock pot add 1 TBSP oil and set stove top to medium high. When the oil starts to shimmer add the cubed chuck roast and brown. Season with salt and pepper. Do not over crowd the pot. If necessary brown the meat in batches.

2. Remove the browned chuck from the pot and set aside. Add another TBSP of oil to the pot, let pot come back up to temperature (the oil will shimmer) and brown the ground chuck.

3. Place a fine mesh strainer in a medium sized mixing bowl drain browned ground chuck.

4. Remove excess fat from the pot. Reduce stovetop to medium heat. Add 1TBSP oil. When the oil begins to shimmer add the onions, peppers and a dash of salt. Let the veggies cook until they start to become translucent. At this point add the cumin, dry mustard, habanero, roasted garlic and tomato paste.

5. Once thoroughly combined with veggie mixture, add the meat back to the stock pot along with the beer, crushed tomato and diced tomato. Let pot come up to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes.

6. Stir in the three beans, onion powder, garlic, cilantro and unsweetened dark chocolate. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Re-season the chili if needed.

Classic Slow Cooker Chili

1. Mix all ingredients except bell peppers and beans in 3/12 to 4 quart slow cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours. To speed up the cooking time you can also cook 4 hours on high. Resist the urge to peek – that adds about 20 minutes to cooking time.

3. Stir in corn, bell pepper and beans. Uncover and cook on high setting for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.

4. Season with salt & pepper. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Express Turkey & Bean Chili

1. Heat large saucepan over medium heat, coat with cooking spray.

2. Add first 4 ingredients, cook for approximately 6 minutes or until meat is done, stirring frequently to crumble.

3. Stir in chili powder and next 8 ingredients (through broth) and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

5. Stir in cilantro. Serve with toppings of your choice.

by: Mandy DeCecco
Mandy is a Drexel University graduate and Philly area native. Mandy coordinates marketing, website and promotions for The Philadelphia Catering Company. She is always looking for creative and fresh ideas for home and catering.
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