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Sophisticated Super Bowl Chili Pairings with Alcohol

NEW YORK (MainStreet) Chili is the perfect Super Bowl dish. It can be prepared a day or two ahead and only improves as it sits simmering on the stove in the afternoon hours leading up to the game. Jean-Luc Le Du, owner of the wine store of that name in Greenwich Village, New York, procured two very different recipes for the classic American stew. One comes from Daniel Boulud, at whose restaurant Daniel Le Du was the sommelier from 1995 to 2004. Boulud's rendition tones down the heat in the dish, which the chef finishes with cilantro.

Jonathan Waxman, whose restaurant Barbuto is just a few blocks north of Le Du's Wines, uses habaneros, jalapenos and poblanos as well as ancho, cascabel and pasilla chili powders and chipotle pepper puree in his fiery chili, which incorporates both sirloin and pork butt. New Yorkers can compare the two versions at a tasting at Le Du's store this Saturday afternoon; home chefs can stage their own taste test at their leisure.

Le Du recommends pairing Boulud's chili with a red wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a region that lies on the Rhone River two hours south of Boulud's hometown of Lyon, France. Based on the Grenache grape, the wines are hearty and robust, Le Du says, perfect for a cold winter night.

The former sommelier has a more surprising pairing for Waxman's chili: bourbon. Le Du says that the flavor profile and intensity of young American whiskey matches the dish's heat and multiplicity of flavors. Those who prefer beer with their chili can enjoy the end of the Super Bowl with what Le Du calls a "whiskey of meditation," one whose age and complexity demand contemplation.

Jonathan Waxman's chili recipe:

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 pounds top sirloin cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • 4 pound pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 x Porter style beer
  • 3 large red onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 habanero (topped, seeded and chopped)
  • 2 jalapenos (topped, seeded and chopped)
  • 3 poblanos (topped, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon cascabel chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced San Marzano tomatoes

In a large pot, add the olive oil and heat to medium high, add the meat and season with s/p. Cook until golden brown, remove and add the onions, carrots, garlic, chilies and the chili powders. Cook until golden, add the masa harina and meat,cook for 3 minutes and add the beer, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then a simmer. Cook for 3 hours or until tender. At this point you can cool and put in fridge for up to a week. Serve with cheese, sour cream, scallions, baguettes, guacamole and tortilla chips.

Daniel Boulud's chili recipe:

  • 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast: 2 1/2 pounds cut into 1/2-inch cubes; 1 1/2 pounds ground (ask your butcher to do this) or finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound slab bacon, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried regular oregano or Mexican oregano (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Chili Powder, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • 2. Grate the zest of 1 of the limes, then juice both limes. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups water, the masa harina, and the lime zest and juice.
  • 3. Heat the olive oil in a medium cast-iron pot over high heat. Add the beef cubes and ground beef and sear until golden brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate and wipe the inside of the pot clean with paper towels.
  • 4. Lower the temperature to medium-high. Add the bacon to the pot and cook until it renders its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt and cook until the onions are softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chili powder, stir to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Return the beef cubes and ground beef to the pot and add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and masa harina mixture. Bring to a simmer.
  • 5. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven to braise for 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves right before serving.


  • 4 ancho chili peppers
  • 4 pasilla chili peppers
  • 4 guajillo chili peppers
  • 2 chilies de arbol
  • 2 pequin chili peppers
  • 1 small habanero chili pepper

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the chili peppers on all sides for 5 to 7 minutes, making sure that they are lightly toasted, but not burned. Transfer them to a plate to cool. Remove and discard the seeds from the peppers. Blend the peppers in a spice grinder.

--Written by David Marcus for MainStreet

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