Chili for a Crowd

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

From the very beginning of The Silver Palate, Sheila’s special chili was a winner. Whether you’re a busy cook who likes to freeze food for future meals, or a host with a crowd on hand, this southwestern stew is the answer. Offer bowls of sour cream, chopped white onion, and grated Cheddar cheese, and let your guests garnish as they please. We like to serve sourdough bread or Crackling Corn Bread on the side, follow the chili with a plain green salad, and of course serve Mexican beer—try Bohemia, Carta Blanca, or the dark Dos Equis.

35 to 40 portions



Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Moodblue, stressed

Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, spiced


  • ½ cup best-quality olive oil
  • 1¾ pounds yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from its casing
  • 8 pounds beef chuck, ground
  • 1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 ounces ground cumin
  • 4 ounces chili powder
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 6 pounds canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained (about 5 cans, each 2 pounds, 3 ounces)
  • ½ cup Burgundy wine
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 3 cans (16 ounces each) dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 4 cans (5½ ounces each) pitted black olives, drained


  1. Heat the olive oil in a very large heavy pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.

  2. Crumble the sausage meat and ground chuck into the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the meats are well browned. Spoon out as much excess fat as possible.

  3. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir in the black pepper, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil, and oregano.

  4. Add the drained tomatoes, Burgundy, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.

  5. Taste and correct the seasoning. Add the olives, simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through, and serve immediately.


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Delicious!!! Overall very good combination of seasonings. Few changes were made since I was limited in meat department. I used 5 lb ground beef & only one mild Italian sausage. I also halved all the seasonings since the meat was halved buuut it was too mild for my family. So I went ahead & doubled up the seasonings (except mustard & lemon juice). I was also short in can tomatoes so I went ahead & add s/beef broth. The family loved it <3 Everyone had refills :) Thank you chef/s :)


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