Fantasy Foodball: Tennessee Chili vs. Texas Chili

By: Roberto Ferdman

When football kicked off last month, the tail-end of grilling season made hotdogs and burgers a staple of any game-day menu. But then temperatures dropped, grills were left to hibernate, and tailgating foods took a turn for heartier, fall-appropriate fare. Rather than mourn the end of warmer days, look on the bright side: chili is back on the tailgating menu, and it's here to stay.

Coveted nation-wide, the hearty stew has been known to stir up quite the controversy. You've got your meat purists and your bean backers, the folks that throw in every spice known to man and those that prefer as few ingredients as possible. Some add chocolate, while others like a dash of cinnamon. And everyone thinks their recipe is the best.

Apropos this week's match-up between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, we're teaming up with the National Football League to offer up two rival chili recipes — one from Tennessee, and the other straight out of the lone star state. Taking sides is always tough, but choosing a chili? It's going to be a nail-biter.

Recipe courtesy Tami Beitz, the NFL's official Homegating expert

(Rich & meaty with pepper and tomato base)

1 ounce of dried whole chilies (approx. three Guajillo Chiles & three Pasilla Chiles stemmed and seeded)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups diced onion

1 teaspoon garlic

2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into ½ inch cubes (to yield two pounds after trimming)

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies

2 teaspoons diced jalapeno (one small jalapeno)

2 tablespoons corn meal

½ cup sour cream for garnish

¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

6 – 8 Lime wedges for garnish

In medium dry skillet over low heat add the peppers and cook 1 minute.

Add the oregano and cumin.  Continue to cook until they become fragrant, 1 more minute.

In spice mill or food processor, grind the spices until they are powdered and set aside.

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is warm, add onions, garlic, beef, 2 teaspoons of salt and a ½ teaspoon of pepper.  Stir frequently until the beef is no longer red, about 10 minutes.

Add three tablespoons of the prepared chili powder mixture, tomatoes, green chilies and jalapeno.  Stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover, and cook for one hour.

After first hour, remove lid and add two tablespoons of corn meal.  Simmer uncovered one more hour to thicken.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro and lime for garnish.

Note: For spicier chili, add extra chili powder mixture or another jalapeno. Prep time: 30 minutes.  Cooking time: 2 hours.  Makes: Approx 7 cups, 6-8 servings.

Recipe courtesy Tami Beitz, the NFL's official Homegating expert

(A distinct smoky flavor - made with bacon, ground beef and beans)


6 slices of bacon, diced

2 cups sweet onion, diced

3 teaspoons garlic

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons cumin

2-3 tablespoons of chili powder

2-3 tablespoons of ground chipotle chili powder

1 tablespoon of salt

½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid

1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth

1 can (16 ounces) red kidney beans (16 ounce)

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 cup diced green pepper (approx one medium green pepper)

Heat a large stock pot over medium/high heat.  Add bacon and stir occasionally until bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes.

Add diced onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.

Add ground beef, cumin, chili powders, salt and pepper.  Stir often to break up meat and cook until meat is no longer red, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, beans, tomato paste and diced green pepper.  Stir and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 1.5 hours.

Adjust seasonings as necessary.  Serve with corn chips and cheddar cheese for garnish.

Note: For spicier chili, add extra of each chili powder.

Prep time: 30 minutes.  Cooking time: 1.5 Hours.  Makes: Approx 10 cups, 8-10

More Chili Recipes:

Plan your tailgating menu with our Big Game Foods Gallery, and get the party started with the NFL's Gameday Party Planner.

Which chili wins your vote?

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