River Run Chili

"This is my favorite chili, adapted from the River Run Cookbook. River Run is a wonderfully quirky restaurant in Vermont that I had the good fortune to visit many years ago. I didn't make many changes, but did reduce the recipe so that it would fit in my 6 quart dutch oven. You can serve this the day you make it, but it is better if you let it sit overnight."
photo by SassyStew photo by SassyStew
photo by SassyStew
Ready In:
24hrs 40mins




  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Brown the ground beef in a six-quart dutch oven over medium heat. If your beef is very lean, you may need to use a few tablespoons of oil. Remove browned beef with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Brown the cubed pork in batches in the drippings from the beef. Be sure to allow enough space between the cubes so that they brown instead of steam. Remove each batch of browned pork to the same dish as the beef as you go.
  • Once the last batch of pork has been removed, saute the onion and pepper in the drippings. If there is too much fat, drain some off so that a there is still about a tablespoon. Stir the onion and pepper until softened, about seven minutes. Stir in the garlic until it releases a scent. Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Pour in the beer and deglaze the pan. Add the meats back to the pot, along with the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
  • SLOWLY bring the mixture just to the boil. Do not let it boil hard. Put the pot in the oven and cook slowly for three hours. Add the beans (drained and rinsed) and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Cool the chili and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, skim the fat off the top and discard. Stir in the masa harina and reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
  • Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and or minced onion and jalapeno with a side of corn bread.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I made this for the current PARTY game. I used 1# of ground pork in place of the shoulder meat. I did everything else as written using Budweiser beer, 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans and upped the chili powder because we like it HOT. I omitted the masa. This was a very good chili and was definately better the next day. Thanks for sharing.
  2. DS went to college in Plainfield Vermont where the River Run restaurant is or was. I have eaten there multiple times and have the cookbook as well. this chili is wonderful, the people who run the restaurant are the greatest too. try this delicious recipe you will love it. it is wonderful served with baked potatoes, yum.


I read cookbooks like they are novels. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I love all of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver's books as well as the Best American Recipe series. The book that I couldn't live without though, is the one I started in a notebook at age 15 while I was an exchange student in New Zealand. I am a research fanatic, and have to review at least five recipes for a dish before I decide which one to use. More often than not, I use elements from multiple recipes. My husband and I welcomed a little girl in December of 2006, and I am having a great time making her baby food. I am looking forward to teaching her how to cook and love food as much as I do. I have lost about 50 pounds since giving birth (gained 20 with the pregnancy) and feel very fortunate that this is the case - especially since I have not been working on if very diligently. My weight loss and my daughter have inspired me to try and eat in a healthier way, by using fewer processed ingredients and more whole foods. I am opposed to artificial ingredients such as Splenda. I am a Flight Attendant by profession (which is where sassySTEW comes in - although it could also apply to cooking). I do event coordinating and some catering on the side. <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b161/tisht/freezer.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a> <a href="http://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y254/Missymop/?action=view&current=newtaginethbanner.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y254/Missymop/newtaginethbanner.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b399/susied214/permanent%20collection/IWasAdoptedfall08.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket">
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