“Game On” Chili


This coming Monday evening, January 7th, the national college football championship is on the line, and Market Coordinator Suzanne Voigt’s New York family is totally going to be watching. No New England or Mid-Atlantic teams are in contention; it’s the Midwest vs. the South with two power-house teams facing off – Notre Dame against the University of Alabama.

Suzanne and her family definitely have serious stakes in this game. Her father was born and raised a ‘Bama boy who played the clarinet in the Crimson Tide marching band. And her son now attends the same university, seeking an MFA in English. Come Monday, they all will be donning red Alabama t-shirts and paying homage to their southern roots, right down to the dinner they will eat. The ingredients are fresh and local (from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and saved from her own garden), but tradition is deep and it tastes good.

There is nothing more comforting than hot chili on a cold January night, game on or not. This recipe is slow-cooked all day in the ease of a crockpot and will be all ready for game or dinner time. Add southern buttermilk-based cornbread topping and you just might be whistling Dixie.  Roll Tide!

The Chili


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef or cubed London Broil *

1 pound Chorizo spiced sausage, cut in bite size pieces *
2 onions, chopped *
4 garlic cloves, minced *
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon ground paprika
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped or 1 or tsp. red pepper flakes (Use only if you like your chili hot.)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce (Made from farmers’ market tomatoes, if you planned ahead last summer.)

15 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 6 diced fresh tomatoes from Shushan Hydroponics
½ cup condensed undiluted beef broth (or homemade stock with bones from the market’s meat vendors) *

1 large can (19 oz.) red kidney beans drained and rinsed (or 1 cup dried red kidney beans, cooked and drained)

2 cups frozen garden corn kernels, thawed
The Cornbread Topping


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk from Argyle Cheese Factory ( Or substitute plain milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery)
1 large egg, beaten *
1 cup grated cheddar cheese *

* These ingredients should be available throughout the cold winter from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendors.

Directions (Use a large oval crockpot.)

1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add beef and sausage and cook, stirring and breaking meat apart, until the burger is not longer pink. Drain off grease and transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

2. In the same skillet, on medium heat add the remaining oil. Add onions and fresh jalapeño peppers or red pepper flakes if using, and cook until softened. Add garlic and all remaining spices; stir for 1 minute. Add cocoa and stir well. Immediately stir in Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and beef broth and bring to a boil.

3. Pour the mixture into slow cooker stoneware over the meat. Add beans and corn and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, until hot and bubbling.

4. At least forty minutes before serving time, mix all the cornbread ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon this mixture over the cooking chili and continue to cook, on high, with lid on, 30-40 minutes or until cornbread sets.

5. Serve in bowls, being sure each serving gets a piece of cornbread along with the chili.