Chili Out

Summer will be over soon and the kids will be back in school, so let’s eat out while we can. I recently met Spike at a charity affair and was very impressed by him, his food and his book. The great recipes and great color photos made me head for my kitchen. Hope you feel the same.


In Spike’s Mendelsohn’s new book, The Good Stuff Cookbook (Wiley), he applies his limitless imagination to traditional American food. Spike says, “If anyone in this business could make money out of a stone, it was Uncle Denny. “Put it in the chili!” became a family joke, so how could we not name it after Uncle D! To cut the “kick” of this chili, try serving it with some cheddar cheese and sour cream, or put it on top of your favorite burger, potato, fries or rice.

32 ounces ground beef

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup diced red onion

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 32-ounce can tomato sauce


1/2 a 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

2 cups sweet, mild barbecue sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, stirring and breaking it up until browned. Drain off the fat.

Heat the oil in another large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook, stirring, until softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, cumin, paprika, chili powder and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add the browned beef and continue cooking and stirring until well mixed. Add the tomato sauce and 1 cup water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 1 hour.

While beef is cooking, prepare the chipotle bbq sauce: Purée the chipotles in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the barbecue sauce, ketchup, vinegar and molasses. Puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. You should have about 3 cups, 1 is for this recipe. Cover and refrigerate remaining 2 cups of the sauce and use as a barbecue sauce.

Stir in 1 cup of the chipotle barbeque sauce and season with salt to taste. Top each serving with some cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Serves 4.


2 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder

1/ 2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla


1 /3 cup honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

In a bowl, mix together flour, walnuts, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together the butter an sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly blend in the flour-nut mixture.

Using your hands, form small, round dough balls and place them on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press down on the balls to slightly flatten each cookie.

To make the glaze, heat the honey, butter, vanilla, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large saucepan over low heat until syrupy. Set aside until ready to use.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle the glaze over the cookies. Let stand on the sheets until cooled completely.

Makes 24.

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