Chunky Chili Recipe | PBS Food

Chili varies from region to region and cook to cook, with some versions using lamb and others foregoing red beans. Allie's take on the classic dish employs sweet Italian sausage and chunks of sirloin, for especially flavorful results.


Prep time: 30 Minutes

Total time: 2 Hours, 30 Minutes

Yield: Serves 8



  • 2 lbs. sirloin steak cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño chiles (ribs and seeds removed for less heat if desired), diced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • Toppings such as shredded Monterey Jack cheese, pickled jalapeño chiles, sliced red onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro leaves, or hot sauce, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat a Dutch oven (a heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid) over high heat until a drop of water sizzles upon contact. In three batches, cook sirloin until no longer pink; remove each batch with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
  2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces; add onion and jalapeños. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until sausage and onion are browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Return sirloin to pot. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomatoes (with juice), cornmeal, cinnamon, bay leaves, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until sirloin easily breaks apart with a spoon, about 2 hours.
  4. Stir in beans; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon and bay leaves. Serve, or let cool completely before freezing in airtight containers.
  5. Per serving: (without optional topppings) 435 calories; 24.8 grams fat; 33.4 grams protein; 18.6 grams carbohydrates; 4.6 grams fiber
  6. Note: Before reheating the chili (on the stove, in the microwave, or in a 325° oven), thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, or defrost it in the microwave.
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