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Football Season Begins! Spice it Up with These Unique Chili Recipes

Football Season Begins! Spice it Up with These Unique Chili Recipes


Football season is finally upon us! Usually, we would be planning to gather with family and friends to watch the games either at home, in the sports bar, or at the stadium. Of course, things look a bit different this year, but we can still enjoy rooting for our favorite teams and enjoying the classic football fare while staying safe.

To spice up your usual football favorites, try these temptingly unique chili twists.

Chile Verde

Bit into tender chunks of pork shoulder slowly cooked in a verde sauce made from roasted tomatillos and jalapenos.


  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Pinch of ground cloves


  1. Preheat broiler. To roast the tomatillos and garlic, remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them well, cut them in half and place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  2. Add 5 unpeeled cloves of garlic to the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until the tomatillo skin is lightly blackened. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool. If you’d like the addition of other chile flavors, you can add canned green chiles or roast fresh chiles under the broiler or on a grill until the skin is blackened all around. Place them in a paper bag and let cool. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, stem and seeds.
  3. To a blender, add the tomatillos, with skins, the roasted garlic, with skins removed, the chopped jalapenos, other chiles, if using, and the cilantro and blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. To sear the pork cubes, first season them with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet and heat to medium high. Add the pork cubes and brown them well all over. Make sure to work in batches so that the cubes can brown well and use a slotted spoon to remove and place them on a plate and set aside.


  1. Pour the excess fat out of the skillet leaving a tablespoon and add the onions and garlic and sauté until limp, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. If the skillet is not large enough to hold the entire batch of chili, transfer the onion and garlic mixture to a soup pot or Dutch oven. Put the pork back into the skillet or pot and add the oregano. Add the tomatillo chile sauce to the skillet or pot and then add enough chicken stock to cover the meat and a pinch of ground cloves. Season with just a little salt and pepper.
  3. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat so that it is slightly simmering. Cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours or until the pork is tender.
  4. Adjust the seasoning, if needed, with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with warm flour tortillas.


Vegetarian Chili

This meatless chili recipe is hearty enough to satisfy even the meat lovers at your gathering. It can also be gluten free and vegan depending on your choice of toppings.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste
  • Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, or any other favorites.


  1. In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, and ¼ teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cook, until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, for approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Next, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  3. Put in the diced tomatoes along with their juices, the black beans and pinto beans, the vegetable broth and bay leaf, stirring to combine. Let it come to a simmer. Maintain a slight simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Take the chili off the heat. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add 1 ½ cups of the chili along with the liquid to a blender, being careful of the hot steam, blend until smooth and then add it back into the pot. You can use an immersion blender briefly in the pot or use a potato masher for a thicker rustic chili.
  5. Add the cilantro to the chili and stir to combine. Mix in the vinegar or lime juice and the salt to taste.
  6. Divide the chili into bowls and add garnishes to your liking. This chili is a great one to freeze for future enjoyment.


Turkey Chili

Turkey chili is a great option to spice things up on game day. It’s savory, healthy, and quick to make.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, white and dark combined
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, cored, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, deveined and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tablespoon, dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth, fresh or canned
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional)
  • Sliced lime for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven heat the oil over high heat. Add the turkey and cook until lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. Stir using a heavy spoon to break up lumps as it cooks.
  2. Add in the onions, garlic, sweet red pepper, celery, jalapeno, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and the cumin to the meat. Stir to combine the mixture well and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmering for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in the beans and stir. Cook for approximately 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  5. Top bowls of chili with garnishes of your choice, cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, black olives, and lime wedges.


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