Derek’s Chili (w/ wine pairings)


So I’m sitting here, staring out the window at the this dreary day that I know is only going to get worse (they’re calling for upwards of 15″ of snow… joy), feeling pretty bleh, and am trying to think of something to cook that will not only warm my stomach, but also my soul. I need a lift, ya know? Do I want to do soup, maybe New England Chow-dah (I always here my Aunt Gail’s voice when I think chowder, she is Gloucester, Mass through and through!)? How about a nice Minestrone? Then it hits me… Chili! I actually haven’t made my chili all winter, what the hell is wrong with me!?

Well, I’m not sure if it’s what’s for dinner, need to get clearance from the wife, ya know… but at the very least I wanted to share the recipe with you. Enjoy!

Serves: Your entire block
Cooking time: 8 hours

4lb Pork Neck
1lb Andouille Sausage, ground
1 Large Red Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
3 Large Carrots, chopped
2 Green Bell Peppers, chopped
3 Jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
29oz Canned Cannelloni Beans, drained and rinsed
29oz Canned Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
15oz Canned Black Beans, drained and rinsed
56oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
28oz Canned Peeled & Ground Tomatoes
12oz Tomato Paste
1tbsp Olive Oil
2c Full Bodied Red Wine
28oz Water
2tsp Salt
1tbsp Smoked Paprika
2tsp Ground Black Pepper
2tsp Red Chili Flakes
2tsp Garlic Powder
2tsp Onion Powder
2tsp Cayenne Pepper
2tsp Chili Powder

So let’s get started…

Heat your olive oil on high in a very large sauce pot and add your pork neck. Seared the outside of the pork, then reduce heat to medium and add your red onion, garlic, carrot, bell pepper & jalapeno, sprinkle with salt and cook until the vegetables are sweating. Increase the heat back to high and add your red wine, allow to reduce by 1/3, then add the water and canned tomatoes. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 4 hours, stirring periodically.

After 4 hours remove the pork neck from the pot and use a fork to shred the meat from the bones. Also sift through the liquid using a slotted spoon to make sure that none of the bones are left in the pot. Add your shredded pork neck back into the pot, as well as the ground Andouille sausage, tomato paste and all remaining seasoning. Cook for 2 hours on low heat, stirring periodically.

After 2 hours have passed add your Cannellini, Kidney and Black beans. Cook for an additional 2 hours on low heat, stirring periodically.

So that’s it. By the end of the 8 hours you should have pretty thick, meaty chili. Ladle it into a bowl and enjoy! Top it however you like, whether it’s shredded cheddar, sour cream and chives… I personally like to add a bit of freshness by topping it with baby arugula and then some shaved cheese and pita points or crostini.

As far as wine pairings go, I tend to stay domestic with chili. To me chili is as American as apple pie, hot dogs and baseball… and by golly, I’ll drink American while I eat it! I personally prefer to go with old vine Zinfandels, full bodied Syrahs or funky field blends. So here goes…

Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, California – This is what I paired with this dish the last time I made it a year ago. It’s no secret that I have a deep seeded love for anything made by Morgan Twain-Peterson… I mean did you read my article “California Wine Trends: Old is new”? Morgan is the son of the famous Joel Peterson (of Ravenswood fame), and I feel that Morgan is not only following in his father’s footsteps, but that very likely the student has become the master! Morgan’s passion is anything old vine. In this instance you’re looking at Zinfandel harvested from Bedrock Vineyard, Casa Santinamaria Vineyard, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Stellwagen Vineyard, Los Chamizal and Scatena, along with a smattering of other grapes like Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, and Petite Sirah. Your vine ages here range from a whopping 80-123 years old! Notes of macerated cherry, blackberry, pantry spice and subtle smoked meat play on the palate with a perfect balance of acidity, tannins and heat. Open this about an hour before serving. You may have a bit of difficulty finding this wine, with a case production of only 1,600 and some pretty high demand it doesn’t last long on shelves. If you can find it, buy a few bottles because after you drink the first you’ll be heartbroken if you can’t get more! (Retail $28-35)

Bucklin “Bambino” Old Hill Ranch Blend, Sonoma Valley, California – Will Bucklin is another advocate for old vine wines. He founded the Bucklin winery back in 2000 with three of his siblings, focusing on wines from the family’s Old Hill Ranch Vineyard that is one of the oldest in Sonoma, officially recognized as having been established in 1885, but rumors hint that the vineyard could be as old as 1852. The “Bambino” is exactly what it sounds like, the baby of the family. Made from vines planted in 1998 this is a blend of roughly 80% Zinfandel, and the remainder is Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Despite having big flavor the wine is somewhat little light on its feet on the palate. You’ll find notes of cherry, blackberry, vanilla and fall spice with subtle hints of oak, surprising acidity and well integrated tannins. I’m sure much of the lightness comes from the fact that the alcohol only tips the scales at 13.3%. This is another wine that can be difficult to find, with only a bit more than 900 cases made per vintage, but it’s worth the effort to track down. (Retail $21-27)

Tensley Syrah, Santa Barbara County, California – Tensley Winery was created in 1998 and they have quickly established themselves as one of the premier Syrah producers in California. This particular Syrah is their entry level wine, made with grapes harvested from Mormann, Thompson, Tierra Alta, Colson Canyon and Camp Four vineyards. The thing that most impresses me with this wine is how it simultaneously exhibit depth and darkness as well as a touch of floral brightness and lift. On the palate you’ll discover notes of blackberry, plum, bitter chocolate, potpourri and ground black pepper with subtle acidity and chewy tannins that lead to a long lingering finish. Much like with Bedrock, this wine can be found as it has a case production exceeding 1,700, but you may have to hunt for it a bit. (Retail $22-28)

So that’s the story folk. Now you have my chili recipe and what I think you should drink with it. Do what you will! I’ll be writing to you again real soon (especially if there are 15″ on the ground tomorrow), in the meantime crack open a bottle of something awesome and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!


Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

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