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President Reagan's Favorite Homemade Chili

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  • 1/2 cup bacon drippings
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 pounds coarsely ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 cups red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon beef base
  • 4 cups canned whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 to 6 cups cooked pinto beans


  1. Using a 1 1/2-gallon heavy pot, melt bacon drippings. When hot, sauté onions and garlic cloves. Add ground beef and chili powder. Stir until meat is well browned.
  2. Add red wine (optional). Add salt, beef base, tomatoes, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer chili meat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add pinto beans to the meat. Simmer chili con carne for 1 hour, covered over low heat, stirring gently from time to time. Test for flavor.

Yields 16 servings.

Source: As prepared by White House Executive Chef Henry Haller