Dad’s chili


Today is a special, special day. It’s my dad’s birthday!! And while I would give anything to be in Texas with him today, this post (and a phone call) is going to have to do.

I know I’ve gone on and on about my mom’s cooking on this here blog, and while she is incredible in the kitchen, I really should start giving my dad more credit. The man has his specialties, and this chili is one of them. Growing up, my dad worked long hours and would come home just as dinner was ready so he never really got the chance to cook. Plus, he obviously needed the time to help me with my homework that I wouldn’t do until after he came home because I’m the worst. Once he stayed up most of the night to finish a project for me – pretty sure I went to bed like the asshole I am.

Anyway! This chili was a weekend dish for us – he would make it on Friday or Saturday and then we would eat, eat, eat until every last bit of it was gone. I always loved when he would cook because there was always something I could help with. Stirring the pot, adding the chili spice packet (yes we use a spice packet. It’s amazing), shredding the cheese, etc. Always something for baby Mansee to do. And now, semi-adult Mansee makes it over the weekends too (but is far too lazy to shred cheese now) and every single time it reminds me of home. While I have memories tied to a lot of food, this is the one thing that affects me the most (drama queen alert!) and that’s the number one reason why I don’t try to mess with it much. I’ve tried making my own mix of spices, but nothing compares to that damn spice mix. So buy it, use it, love it and don’t complain about it.


I make this chili when it’s cold, when I’m sad, when I miss my family or when I should be doing my taxes but wish my dad was here to do them for me. All of that adds up to about six months out of the year. I eat this chili a lot.

So here it is. My dad’s chili recipe with a few, minor modifications. When I asked him for this recipe I got an email back with a list of ingredients. No measurements. Just a list. At first I was like, “what is this, Dad?!” but then I realized that is SO like him. You know, to challenge me and figure things out myself. Or it could be because my entire family is against measuring things so he didn’t actually have the measurements to give me. But now I’m pretty sure it was just payback for that night he stayed up finishing my school project.

Well played, Dad. Well played. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

 Dad’s Chili
Serves 4, or one daughter for a week

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 yellow onions, diced

1 Red (or green!) bell pepper, diced

2 jalopenos, seeded and diced

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb ground turkey or chicken (I’m partial to spicy chicken sausage myself)

Chili spice packet

One can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One can black beans, drained and rinsed

Two cans of diced tomato, Mexican or chipotle style preferred

One can of beer OR 1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 large handful cilantro, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Garnish: chopped cilantro, green onions and sour cream

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and jalapeños to oil and sauté for 4-5 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove mixture from pot and set aside. Add a tiny bit more oil to the pot (if needed) and start cooking the meat. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat into little chunks as it cooks, but don’t make the pieces too small (chili is meant to be chunky!). Once the meat is almost fully cooked, add the spice packet and the onion/pepper mixture to the pot. Stir everything to combine and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Then add your beans, tomatoes and beer/wine and stir everything together. If it looks a little too thick this would be the time to add your chicken stock or water – normally 1/2 cup gets me the consistency I like but feel free to add less or more depending on your taste. Do a quick taste, add salt and pepper to your liking and then alllow the pot to simmer (uncovered) for 3o minutes. Lastly, stir in the chopped cilantro.

To serve, ladle chili into bowls and top with green onions, shredded cheese, sour cream and more cilantro if you’re into that. I, of course, am too lazy to be bothered with any of that and normally just eat it straight up. ENJOY!

Leave a comment


  1. yum! 😀 i am sure to make this 😀

  2. Padmaj Muzumdar

     /  March 31, 2013

    I love love love your recipes. I love love love your blog even more. Will be trying the quesadilla for sure, It looks and sounds delicious. Your whole wheat Pizza was a hit, This will be too. Will let you know.


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