In a bygone era when I was far too young to know what Playboy Magazine was, someone in the family scored this chili recipe. Mom hand wrote the original recipe (the scan is below) so the magazine owner must have dictated it to her. I nominate my Dad or my older brother Tim.
So after returning home after a long September Saturday of shopping for new Halloween graveyard additions, Joe and I decided that despite it being 90 degrees there was no better way to kick-off fall in Texas than with a bowl of chili. So into Mom’s cookbook my fingers strolled until they landed on this ol’ recipe. There’s no telling when this chili was last made but I can tell from the yellowed, stained paper that this recipe was used more than a few times.
While this Playboy Chili recipe isn’t my tried, true and award-winning Kiker’s Kicker Pot Licker Chili, it packed a lotta punch.
❤ Some people just see a chili recipe. I see a recipe that’s a glorious gateway to the belly! You can put chili on more than just a spoon – try it on nachos, chili baked potatoes or what’s better than chili and eggs? Not much! I can picture my Dad enjoying chili and eggs right this very minute with eyes as wide as dinner plates and a smile bigger than Texas.
If you decide to make chili baked potatoes (I wildly recommend), don’t just microwave the potato – that’s far too easy. Take a delicious tip from this blue cheese bacon potato recipe – slather the potatoes with shortening, wrap ’em in foil, and bake ’em in the oven for about an hour. The end result? The softest, most delicious baked potato you’re likely to encounter! After all a baked potato is just that – otherwise we should call them nuked potatoes!
❤ Important Lesson: Not since I learned why bagged grated cheese is inferior to freshly grated cheese (goodbye, wood pulp) have I realized that when making chili, plain ol’ ground beef is inferior to coarse ground beef. Why? I find that the typical ground beef often breaks down into more of a grainy mush than a hearty, bold consistency which is a chunky must when beef is the featured ingredient like when in a bowl of chili. Sadly my local grocery stores were out of coarse ground chili beef, so I resorted to the mundane. Note: You can ask your butcher to prepare it fresh for you.
❤ The typical sidekicks for the Kiker family bowl of chili include shredded cheddar cheese, Nabisco saltine crackers, corn bread, Fritos, sour cream and chopped green onions (to name a few).
Total prep: About 90 minutes.
2 pounds | coarse ground chili beef
½ cup (or less) | olive oil
1 cup | white onion, minced (Mom would likely chop or dice)
1 tablespoon | fresh garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves)
1 large | green bell pepper, minced (or chopped/diced)
1 large | bay leaf (I used 2)
1 teaspoon | oregano
3 tablespoons | chili powder
1 teaspoon | cumin
¼ teaspoon | cayenne
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon (or to taste) | kosher salt
1 tablespoon | paprika
½ teaspoon | red pepper flakes (aka crushed red pepper)
3 tablespoons | flour
1 ½ quart | beef stock
2 teaspoons | sugar
¼ cup (about 10) | cracker crumbs
1 cup | pinto beans, drained
to serve | your favorite sidekicks (see suggested ideas above)
iii. What To Do
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the meat in the olive oil.
2. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper, bay leaves, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, pepper, kosher salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Whew!
3. Stir things well and sauté, covered, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour; blend well. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Note: I noticed at this stage the chili was a little too oily for my liking which is why I think you can totally dial back on the olive oil (noted above).
5. Stir in the sugar, cracker crumbs and the drained beans. Simmer 10 minutes longer.
6. Serve with your favorite sides/toppings.
Leftovers store well in the fridge or they may be frozen for impromptu meals when that cold front blows in and you’re in a flurry for some chili.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Ever since watching the 1989 hit When Harry Met Sally I can’t see the word “paprika” without thinking of the funny paprikash scene. “Paprikash” is a popular Hungarian paprika chicken dish. Enjoy the clip!
This recipe is dedicated to the music teachers of my life. Bill Brady (drums at MacArthur High), Cliff Robertson (piano), and Miss Nance (beginning band, drums, at Garner Middle School).
Thank you for the talent and confidence you gifted me; I lean on both every day!
~ ❤ ~
The Magnificent Seven
This dish comes to Mom’s cookbook courtesy of our 1970s next door neighbor Mary Stephenson.
Mary and my Mom were the best of foodie friends; when I was a younger Patrick trading marbles they were trading recipes and sharing stories about the greatest of foods for family and friends. You can find more of Mary’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook by searching for “Stephenson” in the search bar at right. I probably have more of Mary’s recipes than any other of Mom’s friends. And I’m all the better for it!
This recipe combines 7 key ingredients in 7 simple steps to make one savory, buttery casserole that makes me want to yodel from the hilltops. ← Click this link if you think I’m kidding. I’m highly confident that this dish would have made an appearance at the best-dressed Thanksgiving table. Give it a taste and you’ll see!
foodie tip ~
❤ Cooking terms decoded: Per below, “squash” had to be yellow squash, “onion” would be a white onion, “sharp cheese” would be sharp cheddar cheese, and oleo is margarine (I had to look that one up!) … but in this family we only stick with butter. Falfurrias brand butter, to be precise. Betty’s Mom (my grandmother), “Nanny” insisted on it and that is a tradition that has stuck with me through the years.
Being fooled by the term olio has me remembering a battle between the butters, so to speak. If you are too young to remember the war between butter and margarine you’ve gotta enjoy this vintage TV commercial from the 1970s where we see what happens when you fool with Mother Nature.
I’m not sure if Mother Nature needs to see the doctor or what but she seems to have “ChiffonWare” bowls of margarine confused with daisies confused with butter. Just sayin’.
2 pounds | squash, chopped
1 | medium onion, chopped
¼ stick | oleo (unsalted butter)
to season | a little salt and pepper
1 cup | crackers, crumbled
2 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 cup | sharp cheese, grated
¼ cup | mayonnaise
for the delightful topping:
3 tablespoons | oleo (3 tablespoons? now we’re talking!)
¼ cup | crackers, crumbled
ii. what to do
1. Boil the onion and squash until tender. Drain the water then mash ’em both together.
2. Season with the butter, some salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and of course the mayo. My lips have been waiting for the mayo.
3. Add the eggs, crackers crumbs and cheese. My hips have been waiting for the cheese.
4. About now I’d rev-up the oven to 350°F.
5. To make your casserole topping, melt the additional 3 tablespoons of oleo in a skillet. Add ¼ cup of more cracker crumbs and coat them well in the butter.
6. Transfer the squash mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with your buttery, crumbly topping.
7. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest but best served warm.
Yields 8 servings
Still Hungry For More Senseless Lore?
You’ve stumbled into the right cyber-place!
While “The Magnificent Seven” is a phrase I’ve heard of pretty much my entire life. I realized today I really didn’t know where it truly originated.
A couple of clicks later and I learned “The Magnificent Seven” was actually a film from 1960.
Picture 7 gunslingers comprised of a star-studded cast including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and James Coburn.
A few seconds into the trailer and I instantly recognized an all-too familiar tune I played over and over in band at Garner Middle School. Even more interesting is that I read that in 2013 the movie was inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, making this a must watch movie.
How ironic all this is. And how “sweeter” this dish is to my heart!
Cheers to 7!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Just in case you missed it above…