When I have busy afternoons, I prepare dinner in the morning. I am good friends with my slow cooker, and there is nothing like a hot bowl of chili on a frigid New England night. This chili also makes a college football Saturday meal for all the hungry boys who show up at my house to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines. My children brought tears to my late father-in-law's eyes when for Halloween one year they dressed up as his alma mater's Big Ten championship team. 

Nota bene: This chili freezes beautifully. Go ahead, double the recipe.


  • 1 pound lean ground pork

  • 1 pound ground sirloin

  • 2 cups onion, chopped

  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

  • 8 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (take out seeds if you like less spicy)

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 1/4 cup Merlot or other fruity red wine

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans ground peeled tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  • Sliced scallions, tortilla chips, and sour cream for serving


1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground pork, sirloin, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño to pan. Cook until ground pork and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.

2. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and beans; bring to a boil. Put in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Alternatively, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese, scallions, chips, and sour cream. Eat!

Serves 8