Large chef clay chili

Clay's Colossal Chili

This is the very recipe Chef Clay Erickson used to WIN the National Hobart Chili Cookoff at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California in the spring of 2005. He was gracious enough to share the recipe with us. Thanks Clay!

Yield: 14 (8 ounce) portions

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Clay's Colossal Chili Recipe

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound inside bottom round stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pounds ground round (85/15)
  • 1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Burgundy red wine
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes (Del Monte "Mexican Recipe")
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato powder or paste
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground Tellicherry black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Turkish bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese (mild fancy shredded)
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 10 corn tortillas, julienne cut
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Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot and brown stew meat on all sides. Remove meat and set aside. Brown ground beef and Italian sausage. Remove meat and set aside.

Remove excess oil, leaving 2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the peppers and onion to the pan. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add wine to peppers and onion. Reduce by half. Place all three meats back into the large pot. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, pepper cumin, chili powder, Aleppo peper, ground bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 3 hours stirring occasionally.

Add kidney beans. Let cook an additional 30 minutes.

Deep fry corn tortillas until lightly brown. Serve chili in soup bowls. Garnish with cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and green onion. Accompany with cornbread twists. Enjoy!

Yield: 14 (8 ounce) portions

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Toni B

We have an annual Chili Cook-off where I work and I have entered it for 9 years now. This year (2006) I won "People's Choice Award" and "Chef's Award" with this recipe and Spice House spices. This recipe is truely a winner!!!

Emily A

Clay's chili is by far the best chili I have ever tasted. I think America agrees since he was the winner of the national chili cook off. Clay- you're recipe is just absolutely amazing!!! I thank you for sharing!!!

julie f

Yummy! I love it and would make it. I do not usually eat chilli however I would eat this one again and again. Thanks Clay!

Bryan H

I am writing this as I eat the bad boy chili called Clay's Colasal....

This is an awesome recipe. I do it a little differently.... Drop the stew meat and put 1 1/2 pound of hot Italian sausage meat. I just get the sausage whole and squeeze the meat out of the casing. Then I get 1 1/2pound of mild Italian sausage meat. Then add a 1 pound of ground beef. Brown the meat and drain the fat. Afterwards, I cook the whole recipe in a 6 quart pressure cooker at high for 30 minutes. Wow... A meaty kicking chili... My Girlfriend just said "this Chili is.... Slap your Momma good!" I'm intrigued.....

Alan E

Tomorrow will be my fifth time making Uncle Clay's Chili. So far, it gets better every time, and I'm sure this time will be no different! Thanks Unk for the great recipe, hope to see you soon!!!

cindy r

This was a great chili, although it was a little too sweet for my family's taste buds. I will make it again, but will cut the brown sugar in half or omit it......... very, very good though!!

Christina L

I too won first place and peoples choice in my County Chili Cookoff! Excellent Chili using Spice House Spices!

Marlis B

This was a great recipe. I would definitely make this again. I made it for a dinner party and it was a huge hit. It has a good kick with a complex flavor. A keeper!

Liz S

I made this for our local tavern's Bears halftime spread. All the regulars take turns and the chili is a big deal each week. I was concerned that it would be too hot for some of their tastes but it was perfect...spicy without too much heat. Use the Spice House seasonings for sure!


Just made this with a few twists, my first chili ever and turned out pretty darn good/awsome. Used ground brisket instead of the usual chuck, some tobasco throughout the simmer instead of salt to taste, orange bell instead of green, no beans for the texas die hards, and 45 minutes before finishing i added 2/3 bottle extra stout guiness....if it tasted that good on the first night....todays yankee game chili dogs should be grrrrreat!

Daniel B

I saw Clay on WGN's lunch break and soon after purchased his book. I first made a few soups from his book which were great! I then was asked to make the chili for the football playoff party. I followed his recipe to the letter with the exception of using round steak that I normally used for pepper steak. Amazing is not descriptive enough to describe how really good this chili is. Not too much heat and just the right amount of sweet. The Perfect Chilli !!! The recipe made enough to fill a large crock pot, which took my 15 guests a mere 20 minutes to polish off. Next time I'll be making a double batch. My wife always made the chili in our house. Sorry honey, this recipe will replace our traditional family recipe. Go out and buy Clays Book!!!

Candice L

I absolutely love this recipe and have prepared it for close friends and family many times. Recently it was served at a church function where I received such comments as "the best chili I have ever tasted" to "didn't know Chili could taste this good". Just wanted all to know. Thanks Chef Clay.


Just won our Chilli Cookoff at work with this recipe... Excellent!

joan s

Just made this chili recipe for our chili cook-off at work and took 1st place! Great recipe and full of flavor. I will absolutely make this one again!

Amber A

This chili recipe just won the annual chili cookoff we hold at our tailgate. It beat out seven others! The fresh spices really made a big difference.


Though I dearly love my husband's chili, the thought of an excuse to buy Spice House spices made me happy.

So, I ordered the spices, made the chili, entered it in a contest, and won first prize, a Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven!

It is THAT good! Thank you, Spice House, and thank you, Clay Erickson!

Karen Manasco

Douglas W

This is the best chile recipe my friends and I have tried and have been urged to enter this in a chile contest. I used beef stock in place of the water and all spices used were from the Spice House.

Mary E

This is the best Chili Recipe of all times. I only add one more ingredient 70% unsweetened chocolate 2 cubes. it really make's it creamy try it.

Christine M

I have made this chili several times over the past 6 months and it really is that good! I only used 1 TBS of brown sugar though as I felt 2 TBS was too much. I just made another batch last night!

Susan S

The reason unsweetened chocolate works well is that it is main ingredient in a Spanish Mole. My mother ( who was born is Spain) taught me that. Unsweetened chocolate removes the acid in many tomato based sauces and smooths them out without changing the flavor.

mary s

Im tripling the recipe and entering this week end city chili cook off....Ill let you know Monday...I love this recipe

Clay E

Greetings everyone. Chef Clay here. I just wanted to let you all know how pleased and grateful I am that you have been able to enjoy this chili recipe. I am truly humbled by all of your encouraging reviews. I would also like to thank Paige at The Spice House for posting this and other recipes I've created on their website. Have fun in the kitchen no matter what you're cooking. Respectfully... Chef Clay.

Tim G

There is such a depth of flavor to this chili that you just cant seem to duplicate with standard spices. I went ahead and purchased the spices from The Spice House but with a bit of hesitation. I made the chili the night before our annual chili cookoff at work and I immediately realized what an impressive difference the spices made. I pretty much followed the directions to the letter with the exception of the burgundy wine, I'm in recovery, and this chili didn't disappoint. I won first place EASILY! None of the traditional chili's could even come close to the amazing taste of this recipe. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us!