Fill-Ya'-Boots Chili

Publishing this goes against my belief a little. No, I’m not talking about the “my chili is a family secret” nonsense, I just don’t think you can make a great chili by following a recipe.

Chili making, perhaps more than any other cooking, is about communicating with your food and finding just that right balance. And unlike much that I cook where you get feedback by tasting as you cook, you never really know how a chili will tun out ‘til the fat lady sings. Getting to that perfect chili is a journey of many journeys.

So why can’t a chili be formulated? For a start, your ingredients will vary from mine and you’ll need to adjust accordingly, but more than that every cook has their own style and techniques and this effects the end result significantly. You’ll need to find a recipe that suits your walk. Oh and of course tastes vary, so your chili heaven will be different from mine.

That said, why am I writing this then? Well every journey has to start somewhere and for you, this might be a good place to start. Or, if you are already on your way, there might be something here that helps you along - just as I was greatly helped by JC’s and John’s fine contributions.

So the title is not just about the quantity you will doubtless consume, but it’s also a rallying cry to find that chili that is in all of us. Fill ya’ boots ’cos no one else can fill them for you.

Quantities here serve 4 in my house.



  • 1 ½ lb beef. Use chili grind if you can get it. I use 50/50 mince and chuck chopped into ¼” cubes.
  • olive oil to brown


  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, smacked and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • olive oil to sweat


  • 3 jalapeños, seeds removes and finely chopped. I use dried jalapeños that I soak for an hour.
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • ½ Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 Tbsp Spanish paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • a few grinds of black pepper.


  • ¼ cup tomato purée
  • a glass or so of red wine
  • 1 can of good chopped tomatoes
  • ½ pt beef stock

To finish

  • 1 Tbsp good cocoa powder
  • juice of a lime


  • Soup couldren or other suitable pot


  1. Brown the meat in small batches and set aside.
  2. Sweat the vegies for about five minutes.
  3. Add the spice stirring well and sweat to release all those wonderful oils.
  4. Add the tomato paste then the wine and cook off the alcohol.
  5. Add the rest of the liquid. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour covered and 2 hours uncovered.
  6. Stir in the cocoa then increase the heat and reduce any excess liquid.
  7. Let sit for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible.
  8. Reheat and serve with a squeeze of lime. We usually eat this with tortilla chips, chopped red onion, grated jack cheese, guacamole and sour cream.
Re: Fill-Ya'-Boots Chili

Dude, you crack me up. I think you should open up a school of food philosophy or some such and get your students to call you master. You’ve already got the shiny bald head. All you need now is a long cloak and some incense.

By the way, I can’t wait to try your recipe.

Re: Fill-Ya'-Boots Chili