Georgia Chain Gang Chili

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  • 1 cup dry Burgundy
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pounds beef, coarsely ground
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions
  • 3 pork chops, coarse grind
  • 10 tablespoons ground mild red chile
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) can hot Mexican tomato sauce
  • 1 can whole mid green chiles
  • 1 can pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tablespoons liquid hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 fresh whole green chiles
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Sauterne
  • 12 ounces beer


  1. In a large non-aluminum (preferably glass or glazed cast iron) bowl make a marinade by combining the burgundy, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper. Place all the beef in the bowl and mix lightly to coat the meat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (If time is short marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.)
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour. Remove the chicken reserving the liquid. Chop the chicken breasts fine and reserve.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the beef, straining and reserving the marinade. Mix the beef and pork together, then combine the meats with the ground chile, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, rosemary, and the rest of the salt. Add this meat and spice mixture to the pot with the onions. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned.
  5. Add half the marinade, the reserved chicken, tomatoes, both tomato sauces, jalapenos, and 1 tablespoon of liquid hot pepper sauce to the pot.
  6. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh chiles, mushrooms, and a small amount of the Sauterne and cook for 3 minutes. Add this to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for at least 3 hours. When the chili is cooking, from time to time stir in the remaining marinade, the remaining Sauterne and beer. If more liquid is needed, stir in the water in which the chicken was cooked.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Yield: 20 servings

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