California Chili

"This is a wonderful tasting all meat, no bean chili. The flavor of this is enhanced if it is made 24 hours in advance. For the best results use a dutch oven. A large pot also works. It may also work in a crockpot but I haven't tried that yet."
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Ready In:
3hrs 25mins




  • In a medium saucepan simmer the tomatoes, water, 1 large onion, celery, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper for 30 minutes covered and another 30 minutes uncovered. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, in a large dutch oven over medium heat, saute the medium onion, green pepper, and garlic in the lard for 3-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the meats to the dutch oven and brown over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes. Add more lard if necessary. Add the flour to the browned meats, stirring well. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Return the vegetable mixture to the dutch oven with the meats. Add the chili powder, bay leaves, 1 tbsp salt, brown sugar, oregano, and vinegar. Add the tomato sauce. Stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Add more water if necessary (It should be thick).
  • Add the olives and cheese and simmer covered for an additional 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove bay leaves.
  • Serve in bowls with finely chopped onions and more cheese if desired.
  • Good with a tossed salad and corn bread.

Questions & Replies

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  1. 53candace
    I have been making this chili for years. Found the recipe in the California Heritage cook book. It is my most asked for Super Bowl dish. Don't be afraid to spice it up by adding serrano or jalapeno peppers
  2. Kathy228
    I liked this chili version a lot; it was fresh-tasting. I loved all the vegs. I added extra ground chilis. I don't save bacon grease so I rendered 4 slices of bacon and left the bacon in too. This is a must try chili recipe. Thanks Engrossed.
  3. WI Cheesehead
    All the adults loved this. The kids... :) (only normal!) I used 3 cans diced tomatoes, no celery, canola oil for lard, very lean ground beef, leftover ham. I reduced the chili powder to 4 T and found the heat just right. Didn't overly taste the black olives (chopped them real fine). Next time I'll add some shredded carrots or zucchini for added nutrition and top bowls with more cheese. Had "recipe #204989" with this and it was a great combo. Would be great with corn muffins too. Thanks Engrossed! See, it did turn out! :)


I'm not as active here anymore, but you can find me playing at the new I'm not a great photographer, but I love to take food photos with Freddy Cat to bring a smile to people's day. I love to cook and share good food with other people. I have a very large collection of cookbooks. I used to enjoy being able to look up recipes on Zaar by ingredients I had on hand. I miss the Zaar tag game community. Everyone was so nice, and it was super fun. Ah, the good ol' days.
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