Alex's Recipes


Alex's 'FBY' Chili


Makes about 3 - 4 quarts

The title is a bit boastful. Not only is it the "best yet", it's my first try at home-made Chili. When following the recipe, you can adjust the quantities to change the amount you need to end up with, but I wouldn't change the proportions to start. And don't substitute canned or packaged stuff for the fresh ingredients listed. You'll see why when you first taste it -- unlike any chili I've had before, you can taste all the fresh ingredients, even the fresh tomatoes. Someone used to restaurant stuff - and I've had some great chili - might ask what this WAS. Tell them, "same as before, only diff'rent." Believe me, they'll ask for more, too. Real chili-heads can add more of the hot stuff later if they want a real brow-mopper, but this recipe is plenty hot for polite company just the way it is. Warning for "polite company" -- it does get hotter the second day!

Believe it or not, it's really worth the effort. But it's a real time-stealer. Plan on a whole morning or afternoon when you have nothing more important to do.

The ingredients are broken down into two lists because I know you're going to experiment anyway. The lists are: Basic Ingredients, and Seasonings. I think the key to this one is in the balance of flavors in the Basic Ingredients. So, buy fresh, and buy the best.




1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. fresh ground round (lean)
1-1/2 lbs fresh ripe red tomatoes (4 - 5 really large ones), chopped
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms
1 large ripe green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 large ripe red Bell Pepper, also diced
1 -1/2 large yellow onions or 2 mediums, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 27oz can S&W extra fancy kidney beans, drained


2 generous tbsp. fresh chili powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp powdered cayenne (red) pepper
1 tbsp coarse ground red pepper (the pizza variety)
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper corns
1 "fresh" bay laurel leaf, or 2 bottled dried bay leaves,


Chop, mince or dice all the vegetables just before you begin. In a large skillet, break up the ground round and fry in a couple tbsp. oil on medium to medium low until lightly and evenly browned. Saute the onions, garlic, and diced bell peppers in margarine or oil in a separate skillet at the same time. I preferred to sauté the vegetables separately for browning and grease control. You don't want the hamburger crumbly, and you don't want the veggies soaking up fat from the beef (with lean beef there will be nothing to pour off).
Into your large stock kettle (5 - 6 quart size), pour the drained (not rinsed) kidney beans, and the diced tomatoes. Start heating on medium low, and stir gently into this the cooked ground round, onions, garlic and peppers. Cover with a proper tight lid, stir occasionally and gently with a large wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks at all, and keep covered to control liquid loss through steam and condensation. (You only have "just the right amount" of liquid to begin with, so conserve it). Monitor the burner and kettle temperatures until the mixture has stabilized at a very low simmer. Keep it there. Keep it covered. You will see that the veggies have added enough liquid that it should never be necessary to add any water or other liquids. While doing this, saute the mushrooms in butter or margarine and add them to the stock.
Now, gently stir in 1 tbsp chili power (i.e., 1/2 of the amount in the seasonings list), and also add all of the other seasonings. Re-cover and simmer at least 3 hours, checking and stirring only every once in a while. If you've managed your kettle properly, nothing will burn or stick, you won't have to add "a little" water, which you always end up having to boil off later anyway.

Try to resist the temptation to meddle with the mixture until at least 3 hours, at which point you'll find and remove the spent whole bay leave(s). The 1 tbsp. chili powder previously added, with the other spices, will make this mix "borderline hot" to some palates on the second day, so add the other 1 tbsp. of chili powder with caution. After 15 more minutes or so, you can tell how it is going to taste, and it will be ready to serve almost any time in the next few hours.

I left my 'FBY' Chili just like that, and I think you and your guests or family will agree it is remarkable. Whether you like it hot 'n' spicy, or prefer something that doesn't send you reaching again and again for the water pitcher and a clean dry hanky, you'll find there is a flavor in this mix for you.

You are probably wondering what the 'F' stands for in 'FBY'. I prefer to think it probably is a standard abbreviation for "fine", or some other chili chef's term.


Chili always does well topped with coarse grated cheeses and sliced onions stirred into the individual servings at the last possible second. I would suggest sliced purple onions for toppings. If you use cheddar cheese, the perennial standby, by all means use the best, fresh-grated, medium or sharp brick cheese. This chili would do well topped with a more delicate white cheese, including Monterey jack, swiss, or mozzarella.

If you like it hot 'n spicy, you are not going to be able to leave this one alone at three hours, are you? Start with extra garlic - just a clove or two more - and perhaps a bunch of diced green onions, tops and all. Then, try this: select one, two, or three very large, fresh, whole green chilies in the produce section while you are shopping for the ingredients which the normal folks are going to eat. I would definitely start with just one. Flash-fry these in 1/4 cup oil at medium to high heat in a skillet until just the skins are blackened. Peel off and discard the skins. Add one, chopped, to the stock at the three-hour point -- and wait. You can never tell with these things. If you decide against adding the second and third fresh fried chilies, and I think you will, you can always just bury them in the back yard when no one is looking.






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