Bolognese-Inspired Chili

I recently read The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez Alt, and I was mesmerized by his bolognese recipe. Since the boyfriend doesn’t care too much for bolognese, but he does like chili, I decided to make a bolognese-inspired pot of chili. The flavors are definitely chili, but the texture and cooking techniques are borrowed from Kenji. I like chunky chili as much as the next gal, but not this time. As weird as it sounds, I aimed for a velvety-textured pot of chili. I used the food processor to get all of the veggies chopped finely. The corn tortilla helps thicken the broth and rounds out the flavors.

I used a combination of ground beef and ground pork and then upped the umami game with some beef broth concentrate, worcestershire sauce and fish sauce. There was a huge difference in the meat texture right after it was browned and after simmering in the pot for an hour. It went from normal, chewy meat into velvet.


  • 1.8 lbs ground beef
  • 1.2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 pepper of chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 corn tortilla, torn into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp beef broth concentrate
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Roughly 3 cups of water
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese



Brown the ground beef and pork together in a big pot or dutch oven over medium heat. While the meat is browning, roughly chop the onion, celery, carrot and poblano pepper. Then, put them in a food processor and pulse a few time until the pieces are finely chopped.

Remove the browned meat from the pot and drain the grease, reserving 1 Tbsp in the pot. Put the veggie mixture in the pot, and sauté them until cooked through. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Add a little bit of salt right now. Don’t over salt it right now. You can add more salt later.

Raise the temp to medium high. Deglaze the pan with the beer and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the browned meat back into the pot. Add the chipotle through fish sauce into the pot. Add enough water so that all of the meat and veggies are below the liquid level, roughly 3 cups. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 min to an hour, until the meat has a velvety texture.

Pulse the can of diced tomatoes until it’s a chunky sauce. Drain the two cans of beans. Add the tomatoes and beans to the chili. Add more salt to taste now. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.