Birchwood Cafe Chili

January 2017 Recipe of the Month

One of Carla J.’s family favorites, this recipe uses peppers, the 2016 Herb of the Year and cilantro, the 2017 Herb of the Year. Perfect for warming your kitchen on a cold and snowy day. Made even better when the ingredients come from your own garden, carefully and lovingly preserved for just such an occasion.


Birchwood Café Chili

2 tbsp. olive oil or unsalted butter
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 whole garlic cloves, minced or more to taste
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano or Anaheim pepper
1 small jalapeno pepper
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 ½ tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ cup red wine or beer
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans with their liquid
1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cooked, diced beef, chicken, turkey or shredded pork
Optional, for serving;
sour cream seasoned with fresh lime juice
blue corn tortilla chips
chopped, fresh cilantro


Cut peppers in half, removing seeds and stems and place under broiler until blackened. Allow to cool, peel off the skin and chop. (This the method I like to use when freezing peppers.)
In a large soup pot, heat the oil or butter over medium and saute’ the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and parsley with a little salt and pepper until nutty brown and fragrant. Add the peppers and saute’ until very soft.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it just begins to brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, coriander, ancho chili powder, oregano and the wine or beer and reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and let that reduce by half. About 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomato sauce and black beans, cover partially, and simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Add the corn and the beef, chicken, turkey or pork, adding a little more stock if the mixture is too thick. Serve garnished with the lime-seasoned sour cream, tortilla chips and cilantro.


To make this a vegetarian chili, use vegetable stock and substitute the meat for textured vegetable protein. (I made it this way for my family once and they couldn’t tell the difference.)