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When I arrived home from taking Trinity to school this morning the temperature was -5*F. That’s the kind of weather that calls for a hearty bowl of chili. It was fortuitous then, that I had recently volunteered to bring dinner to two families from our church who had family members recovering from surgery. I set about making a triple batch.

This recipe has evolved many times over the years. I debated what to call it but ultimately decided I would name it after the two components that give it an extra depth of flavor that I love: Smoked Paprika and Beer. Feel free to adjust anything to your family preferences. I start with the measurements below and adjust seasonings to taste after the chili has had a chance to simmer for a while.

Smokey Beer Chili


  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • chili powder – to taste (start with 1-2 Tbsp and add from there depending how you like it)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper – to taste – (I’d start with 1/8 tsp and add to taste. A little goes a long way. Remember, you can always add but you can’t take away. I take into consideration who I’ll be serving.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bottle dark beer- I use a black lager
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 bell peppers of any color
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1- 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or grass-fed beef)
  • 1/2 lb italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
  • 48 oz bottle V8 juice (or generic equivalent)
  • 1 can kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed (whatever your preference – I’ve used one or the other, both, or none at all depending on my mood)


Combine all the spices and seasonings (through sugar) and set aside. I was making a triple batch so the spices almost filled an entire rice bowl:DSC_0074

Chop the bell peppers, celery, and carrots and set aside:DSC_0088Add a glug of olive oil to a large stock pot over medium heat. Brown the meat, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off the fat. Set meat aside on a plate or in a bowl.

Place chopped onions to the stock pot and cook until translucent. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook and stir for one more minute. Pour veggies into the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add the meat back into the pot:DSC_0095

Then add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, all the seasonings, beer and V8 juice to desired thickness (I don’t use all of it but thickness of chili is a matter of preference. Pour half in, then stir and add more until it is the consistency you like.) Allow to simmer for anywhere from half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally. Add more V8 throughout simmering, if needed.DSC_0096

Once the flavors have had a chance to marry, take a taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Add beans (if using), simmer for 10 more minutes, and serve.