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A Game-Day Chili Menu

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Chili is the perfect game-day meal; you can make it ahead so you don't miss any of the action.

This menu is built around a gutsy beef chili, which actually improves if it’s made a day or two ahead. It’s rounded out with a savory, scallion-and-bacon-laced cornbread and a crunchy cabbage salad with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.

Menu Timeline

Up to two days ahead:

  • Shop for ingredients.
  • Make the chili.
  • Roast the beets for the salad.
  • Bake the pecan squares.
  • Make the vinaigrette.
  • Prepare and toast the spicy pepitas.

That morning:

  • Skim the fat from the chili.
  • Peel and slice the beets.
  • Clean the salad greens; refrigerate in a zip-top bag.
  • Clean the cilantro for the chili garnish and pluck the leaves; refrigerate in a zip-top bag.
  • Bake the cornbread.

An hour before serving:

  • Combine the cabbage, red onion, and beets with half of the vinaigrette.
  • Take the chili out of the fridge; warm gently.
  • Heat the cornbread.
  • Prepare the salad garnishes.
  • Prepare the chili toppings; arrange in bowls.

Just before serving:

  • Finish tossing the salad.
  • Slice the cornbread.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 8 scallions
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 large fresh poblano peppers (or green bell peppers)
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 bunch (4 or 5) small beets
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 very small head red cabbage
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3 sprigs rosemary or thyme

Meat and Dairy Items

  • 3 thick slices of bacon
  • 4-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1-1/4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sour cream or whole-milk plain yogurt
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • 10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream

Other Groceries

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • 1-1/2 quarts homemade or low-salt beef broth
  • 12 -ounce bottle amber ale, such as Shiner Bock, Dos Equis Amber or Anchor Steam Liberty Ale
  • 6 oz pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds–available in natural-foods stores or specialty stores)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 10 ounces pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ancho or New Mexico chile powder

Pantry Staples

  • Olive oil
  • Corn oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Baking powder
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Bay leaves (2)
  • Cinnamon sticks (2)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground cloves
  • Table salt
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drink Suggestions

The combination of savory and spicy flavors and dark beer in the chili makes you want to reach for a beer. The perfect pairing would be a bottle of the same beer that’s used in the recipe, Shiner Bock, but you’ve got lots of other choices, too. The body and texture of the chili call for something robust: think ale, specifically a rich, full-bodied spicy one, like Anchor Steam’s Liberty Ale, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, or Dos Equis Amber. A fine Belgian ale such as Duval or Orval would also be delicious. Finally, try a hand-crafted bourbon such as Knob Creek ($29) or Blanton’s ($49) to sip with the pecan squares.

The Menu

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