Hey, if red wine brownies can be a thing that moms can’t live without* so can red wine chili!
But the real reason you can’t live without this recipe is that it is SO easy and makes FOUR dinners. I always have my freezer stocked with it. All that plus it has killer flavor. In fact, I once won a chili cook-off with this recipe!
It’s also free of the top eight allergens, so it’s a great dish to bring to a potluck or even to offer to babies when they’re first starting solids. You heard me right! This red wine chili was one of my daughter’s first foods and she loves it to this day. But please nobody freak out about feeding red wine to a baby. The alcohol cooks off during the heating process and there’s very little residual wine in each serving anyway.
But if for any reason you don’t want to cook with wine, I recommend substituting red wine vinegar at half the amount.
There’s also a school of thought that a baby’s first foods should not be seasoned. Plain sweet potato, mashed peas, etc. Personally, I fall on the other end of the spectrum and believe in offering babies very flavorful food from the start. It helps them grow to enjoy strong flavors, plus it’s less work for the parents since you don’t have to make separate, unseasoned food for the baby.
There’s one exception, though – although I think this chili is fantastic with a full tablespoon of chipotle powder, I keep it to just a teaspoon when I’m cooking for my kids. Children can certainly handle spicy foods if they enjoy them, but I don’t want to turn my kids off from a nutritious dish because it’s too spicy. I serve additional chipotle powder and hot sauce at the table for those of us who want more heat.
Sadly, I took these photos last spring before I went dairy-free, so no sour cream and cheddar for me! I don’t mind it plain but if anyone has a suggestion for a good sour cream alternative, I’m all ears!
Red Wine Chili
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced*
- 2 bell peppers colors of choice, diced*
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- 6 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. chipotle powder to taste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tsp salt
- Shredded cheddar cheese optional
- Sour cream optional
Brown the ground beef over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or the bowl of a slow cooker with a sauté function. (Alternatively, complete steps one and two in a separate pan on the stove and then transfer to a slow cooker.)
Add the olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic to the browned beef, sauté until the onions become translucent.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat/cook on the slow cooker's low function for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve with sour cream and cheddar cheese.
Note: This recipe makes eight 1 1/2 cup servings. I like to portion it into four freezer containers for easy weeknight meals. To defrost, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a pot on the stove.
*Or dice up two 14 oz. bags of frozen sliced onion and pepper mix, such as Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions.