Game Day Chili

Canned tomatoes and beans, some ground meat, and a few dried herbs and spices—it's amazing that such deliciousness can come from these humble beginnings. The hardest part of this recipe is getting all the ingredients organized and prepped for the chili. Then the recipe takes care of itself. I give a nod to Canada in this recipe with a good glug of maple syrup. It's not enough to make this sweet, but it does round out the flavors of the spices. For the win, serve this chili with my rich Cast-Iron Cornbread. You can find the recipe in O's October 2018 issue!

Serves 8 to 10 (and then some...)


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground lamb
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded (if desired, for less heat) and diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (I like Stella Artois)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes or whole tomatoes crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes or whole tomatoes crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Pickled peppers and onions, for serving
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Grated Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese, for serving


Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sausage and cook, breaking up the meat into large pieces with a spoon, until the meat has begun to brown and caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

Add the onion, shallot, garlic, bell peppers, and jalapeño to the pot and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 6 minutes. Season with a few pinches of salt.

Return the meat to the pot and stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, chile flakes, and a few pinches of salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes. Pour in the beer to deglaze the pot, using a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil.

Pour in the tomatoes, beans, and maple syrup. Stir to combine all the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until all the flavors have melded and the beans and tomatoes have thickened up to your preferred consistency for chili, about 1 hour.

Serve with the delicious cornbread, and offer pickled peppers and onions, sour cream, and grated cheese for toppings.

Sticky Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs

I've been a sucker for sweet, sticky ribs ever since I started eating them at Kevin Garden, a favorite Chinese restaurant in Toronto. This recipe is a sweeter, more Southern take on ribs. Be sure to serve them with plenty of napkins. Also be sure to line the roasting pan thoroughly with aluminum foil—even up the sides—or else you're talking about a pan that will need to soak for a while before scrubbing. You can also make the ribs the night before. Let the racks cool, then wrap them tightly and refrigerate overnight. The next day, gently warm in the oven before carving up.

Serves 6


  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) rack baby back ribs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 packed cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a heavy-duty roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (bottom and sides) and lightly oil it.

Put the rack of ribs in the prepared pan and season all over with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Turn the ribs meaty-side down. Whisk together the sugar, water, honey, onion, and garlic. Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover tightly with foil, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Uncover, turn the ribs meaty-side up, and bake until the ribs have crisped up, about 5 more minutes.

Transfer the rack to a large cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the ribs along the bones. Stack up the ribs on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt if desired, and serve.


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