Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Red Wine Chili From the Vine

Fall is finally setting in, and during our first day below 60 degrees I pulled out the big pot and made my first batch of chili for the season.  There are undoubtedly a bazillion ways to make chili.  Living in the midwest, I prefer elbow macaroni in mine.  My husband likes some good spice.  We both like to add cheese and crackers. Luckily for us, early in our marriage I found this awesome All-American Chili recipe from Cooking Light.

If 8 cloves of chopped garlic isn’t enough for you, I guess you can add more.  But Edward Cullen probably won’t be your date.

I like to do all of my chopping at once.  I set out glass bowls and put all of my ingredient “sets” into the bowls. For example, this chili says to put the beef, sausage, onion, garlic, green pepper and jalapeno pepper into the pot at the same time.  I chop the onion, garlic, green & jalapeno peppers and put them in the same bowl.  Then I empty that bowl and the meats into my stew pot.

I feel all Martha Stewart-y with my ingredients so organized in pretty glass bowls.  Plus I don’t like to rush around chopping and measuring while stuff is burning on the stove.

Once the meat is browned, it’s time to add the spices.  Again, I measure all the spices into one little bowl and then dump them into the cook pot at once.

Mix the spices into the meat mixture and let it cook together for a minute or so.  Then it’s time to add the wet ingredients–the tomatoes, beans and WINE.  Yes, this chili includes over a cup of Merlot!  The alcohol cooks off, of course, and what’s left is a really rich flavor that adds a surprising smoothness to the chili.

Measure out 1.25 cups of wine for the chili…

…and a little wine for the cook.

For real, it’s been a tough day.  If this chili didn’t include wine I would’ve ordered a pizza for dinner.

Once this pot of goodness comes to a boil, just turn down the heat, cover it and go do something else for an hour.  Me?  I watched an episode of Project Runway on my laptop while supervising my 3yo riding his bike.  Win-win.

The recipe says to simmer the chili for an hour and then remove the lid and cook for another half hour.  When I remove the lid, I throw in some elbow macaroni and then stop the cooking when the macaroni is done.

We serve ours with shredded, extra-sharp cheddar cheese and some Saltine crackers.

I think it’s a hit!

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Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous 10/07/2010 at 3:27 pm

    Jake thought it was gross. He was like, You couldn’t even wait to pour a glass?!

  2. Anonymous 10/07/2010 at 3:27 pm

    Jake thought it was gross. He was like, You couldn’t even wait to pour a glass?!

  3. Rachael 10/05/2010 at 3:30 pm

    I’m totally cracking up at the picture of you and your bottle!