Chefs from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels Offer New Takes On an American Autumnal Culinary Classic, Chili!

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Chefs at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® across the country are honoring the iconic dish -- chili -- this Autumnal season with a sampling of cutting-edge recipes that are anything but traditional. Brisket, chicken and steak, simmer with beans, cilantro, peppers, chocolate, beer, lime juice and a shot of Bloody Mary Mix. Here are their recipes for a delicious “bowl of red”!

Mole Chicken Chili

Chili. It’s comfort food with a kick – a creation of chuck wagon cooks to fuel cowboys along the cattle trail. A steaming “bowl of red” is the official dish of Texas, and the Lone Star State traces its origins to the legendary Mexican Chili Queens of San Antonio who lined the city’s plazas with pots of homemade chili. Chuck wagon chefs were said to have planted small gardens of herbs, onions and peppers along the cattle trail to ensure a steady supply of ingredients. The meat in the stew could include whatever was available – beef, buffalo, jackrabbit and even armadillo. Outlaws loved it – Frank and Jesse James spared the local bank in the town where their favorite chili parlor stood.

Although there is evidence that Mayans, Aztecs and Incans enjoyed simple stews of meat, peppers, herbs and spices, chili is an all-American dish. Born in the Southwest in the 1840s, it spread across the country where it morphed into some decidedly different local versions. Cincinnati serves up a Mediterranean version over spaghetti. Michigan Hot Dogs are a frankfurter in a bun topped with chili sauce and onions. New Mexicans use pork and local green chilies.

A culinary point of contention for generations of Americans, chili takes many forms – most of them controversial. Beans or no beans? Texans are horrified at the thought. Tomatoes in or out? Chili has so many variations throughout the US that there are few similarities beyond peppers and spices, especially now that vegan chills are appearing with tofu and beans. A mainstay of the barbecue circuit, neighborhood parties, local fundraisers and corporate teambuilding programs, chili cook-offs have even found their way to the US Senate.

Chili has evolved from its original home on the range and now includes an infinite variety of meats, vegetables and spices, blended with more sophisticated cooking techniques. Chefs at Benchmark Resorts & Hotel s® across the country are honoring the iconic dish this Autumnal season with a sampling of cutting-edge chili recipes that are anything but traditional. Brisket, chicken and steak, simmer with beans, cilantro, peppers, chocolate, beer, lime juice and a shot of Bloody Mary Mix. Here are their recipes for a delicious “bowl of red”!

The Nautical Beachfront Resort, Lake Havasu, Arizona

Three Bean, Three Meat, Three Pepper Chili by Chef John Andreola
Third time’s the charm, with this singular chili influenced by neighboring Mexico. Serves 12-15

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, ¼ inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, ¼ inch diced
1 green bell pepper, ¼ inch diced
4 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tbsp. chipotle chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
6 slices thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground chuck Angus 80/20
2 lbs. New York sirloin, ¾ inch diced
2 c. beer (Budweiser)
1 (15oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (24oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 (24oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1 c. V-8 juice
Lime wedges, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Julienne of tri-colored tortilla chips, for garnish

In large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Add diced sirloin and sauté until lightly brown. Once the sirloin is browned, add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano and smoked paprika. Cook until the vegetables are tender and seasonings are aromatic. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once beef is broken up and beginning to brown, add the pork. Break up with wooden spoon like the beef and brown until no longer pink, roughly 5 minutes. Stir in the beer and beans. Mix together, then add the V-8 juice, crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 ¾ hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the chili to serving bowls and garnish with lime wedges, sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced scallions. Top with a fine julienned of tri-colored tortilla chips.

The Chattanoogan Hotel, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Smoked Brisket Chili with Chipotle-Lime Sour Cream by Chef Adam Roe
The South is known for its smoked meats and this hearty Tennessee chili is both smoky and spicy.
Serves 8-10

2 lb Smoked Brisket (large dice)
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb diced onion
1 lb diced bell pepper
4 oz diced pimentos
2 oz chopped Jalapeno
8 oz Roasted Garlic Paste
1 qt canned diced tomatoes
2 c Bloody Mary Mix
4 tbsp Chili Powder
2 tbsp Cumin
Chopped Cilantro
12 oz Shredded Smokey Park TN Cheddar
S&P to taste

Brown and drain ground beef, add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, sweat until onion is translucent.
Add seasoning, roasted garlic, and pimentos; stir until mixture is completely combined.
Add smoked brisket, tomatoes and bloody mary mix and simmer for at least 1 hour.
Season to taste with cilantro, salt, and pepper and Serve, garnish with Chipotle-Lime Sour Cream and Smokey Park Cheddar.

Chipotle-Lime Sour Cream
16 oz Sour Cream
2 oz Chipotle Puree
3 ea Fresh Limes (squeezed)
S&P to taste

In a mixing bowl combine sour cream, chipotle and lime juice. Whisk until combined and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish individual portions of chili according to personal preference.

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Hokies Tailgate Three Beans Steak Chili by Executive Chef Chang Lei Yun
A perfect dish for a tailgate party or any other occasion, this combination of beans, steak and spice is big on the Virginia Tech campus. Serves 8
1.5 # Sirloin Steak, cut into ¾” thick slices            
1 ea 16 oz Can Red Kidney Beans Rinsed
1 ea 16 oz Can Black Beans Rinsed
1 ea 16 oz Can Northern Beans Rinsed
4 Slices of Bacon Diced
1 ea Red Onion Diced                        
4 Cloves Garlic Minced                            3 tbsp Dark Chili Powder
1 ea Bell Pepper Diced                            1 tbsp Ground Cumin    
1 ea Jalapeno Minced                            1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 ea 28oz Can Chopped Tomatoes                    1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 ea 4oz Can Diced Green Chilies                    1 ea Bay Leaf
4 oz Tomato Paste                            1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
12 oz Dark Beer                            1 cup Shredded Cheddar    

Salt and pepper slices of steak and char grill to medium. Remove from grill and dice steaks into ¾” cubes and save the juices.
In heavy bottom pot/Dutch oven on medium high heat, render bacon until slightly crispy. Add grilled steak cubes and juices.
Stir in red onions, garlic, bell peppers and jalapeno to cook until soft.
Add in all dry spices and cook for 5 minutes. Stir constantly
Deglaze with dark beer, add tomatoes, green chilies, tomato paste and all beans.
Stir well, make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the beans, if not add beef stock or beer. Cover the pot and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Plating Spec
6 oz serving in a bowl. Sprinkle shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onions and sprig of cilantro for garnish.

The Heldrich Hotel, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Mole Chicken Chili by Sous Chef Jordan Lerner
This sumptuous chili from The Heldrich blends the best of America and Mexico with mole.

Mole Chicken Chili
3 tablespoons (or more) peanut oil (preferably unrefined), divided
5 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cups orange juice
1 can (28oz ) whole plum tomato, (mashed coarsely by hand)
1 ¼ pounds onions, ¼ in diced
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted and ground
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
4 ounces dried pasilla chiles,* stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed, toasted and ground fine
1 ounce dried negro chiles,* stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed, toasted and ground
¼ cup raisins
1 can (12oz) black beans, rinsed
1 can (12 oz) kidney bean, rinsed
4 (3 x 1/2-inch) strips orange peel (orange part only)
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate,** chopped
Chopped fresh cilantro
Tortilla chips (optional)
Rice (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot; sauté until lightly browned, adding more oil by the tablespoon as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to large bowl.
Add onions to pot, cook for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened. Add garlic, almonds, cumin, coriander, pasilla chiles, negro chiles, raisins, orange peel, dried oregano, crushed tomato, chicken stock, orange juice, Mexican chocolate, chicken thighs. Increase heat to high, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook chile for 1-2 hours until chicken is tender, sauce is reduce and thickened. Remove chicken thighs from the pot, shred the meat, return chicken to the pot. Add the black beans and kidney beans, cook until beans are heated through. Serve with chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, rice and shredded cheddar cheese.

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® features the finest in preferred accommodations, exceptional food & beverage, recreation, and superior meeting facilities throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Renown for enchanting destinations, incomparable service and for creating unforgettable memory-making experiences, it is a signature portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years. Many select BENCHMARK properties are certified by IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence. To become a fan on Facebook, visit Follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and on Pinterest at

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