Dago Chili

About this recipe

Canadians are always asking, "Hey, what about us?" So here you have it, an Italian rendition of one of your favourites.


Place a Dutch oven on the stove; turn heat to medium and fry:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil,
  • 1 cooking onion (diced).
When the onion is tender, add:
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced),
  • 1½ lb. lean ground beef (not extra-lean),
  • 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. chili pepper.

Brown the beef and break up into small pieces. When the released water is cooked off, add:

  • a splash of white wine (½ cup),
  • 2-3 large carrots (sliced large), 
  • 2-3 stalks celery (sliced large).
  • 2 (19 oz.) cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed).

Sauté 5-10 minutes, and then add:

  • 1 (10 oz.) can mushrooms (drained and rinsed),
  • 1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes (hand-squashed),
  • 1 cup water (use the tomato can and swish out the remains).

Cover and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

Uncover and simmer a few more minutes until it starts looking good (remember, chili thickens as it cools). Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with French bread or over rice.


  • Chili is always better served the next day.
  • Stir from time to time when cooling to release heat.
  • Make sure you have sufficient carrot and celery—it’s really important.
  • If you're in Phoenix, try red or green bell pepper in place of the celery.
  • You can substitute red kidney beans, but it's a Mexican dish and they put pinto.
  • Don't get freaked out by the wine; it's just added for flavour. If you don't like wine, leave it out.
    When you make chili, make lots. I like to rehydrate 2 lbs. dried pintos (which yields 5 cans) and double everything except the mushrooms. 

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