Hot Chili with No Red Peppers

A workaround for a food allergy

I wouldn’t dare to share such a bastardized recipe if it weren’t for the fact that guests rave about it. I love chili and gotta have it even though I live with someone whose gut is intolerant of any capsicum pepper: red, yellow, green, hot or not. So, I have learned that enough freshly milled black pepper can really bring the heat. Coffee and a bold red wine fill-in the smoky-fruity depth of sun-cured Hatch chile peppers.


– 1 lb. minced stew beef or trimmings from prepping other cuts
– 1 lb. minced red meat trimmed from pork loin
– 1 med. onion, minced
– 16 oz. crushed tomato
– 1 cup of dark brewed or pressed coffee
– 1 cup.of red wine
– olive oil
– 4 tbsp masa (corn flour) dissolved in water to a slurry
– ground cumin
– 1 rounded tbsp smoked ground coriander
– freshly milled black peppercorn
– salt
– cooked pinto beans optional.


In a stew pot, sear minced meat in olive oil over med. high till thoroughly brown with a good crisp to at least half the pieces. Remove the meat to a bowl. Add more oil and sautèe the onion till it turns translucent, scraping the stuck meat from the bottom with a wooden spatula and mixing it into the onions. Stir-in the wine, allow to evaporate and then add the crushed tomato. Add coffee, reduce heat to med. and simmer, adding coriander, lots of pepper, and plenty of cumin to taste. Stir-in 2 cups of water and simmer covered for 45 minutes.

Remove the lid, add more water if necessary to make chili a bit soupy, and salt to taste. Stir-in masa slurry gradually, stopping if gravy is getting too thick. Add a bit of water if necessary. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes. Turn the burner off.

If you like beans in your chili you can use canned or cook them separately adding them at the end with their thickened pot liquor or viscous packing liquid, stirring to integrate. Better, you can serve them on the side so folks can mix them into the chili or enjoy them separately. Serve chili in a bowl with chopped onion, shredded mexican cheese and saltine crackers, or on top of rice on a plate with onion, cheese, pickled jalapeños, salsa verde and tortilla chips.

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