Paul’s Secrets for Great Super Bowl Chili

January 21, 2019

It’s a sure bet many people will be glued to their couches and barcaloungers come Super Bowl Sunday. But it’s not just about the football, and those clever, multi-million dollar commercials.  Super Bowl Sunday is also a time to enjoy food, from chips and dip to buffalo wings and everything in between.

For many years, Food Bank Executive Director Paul Ash has cooked up pots of homemade chili for employees to enjoy in the lead up to the big game. Paul has dusted off his favorite recipe, and is willing to share it with the world once again.  Enjoy!

Tips to Make the Tastiest Super Bowl Chili

  • Start with your favorite chili recipe.  The Best Chili Ever Recipe” from is a great place to start.
  • Use fresh chili peppers when possible. Canned chilis are good, but if you can go with fresh chilis, I think they make the overall product taste better. They also give the dish some color.  I like to use jalapeños to add a little heat. If you’re looking for something spicier, consider adding some serannos or even habaneros.
  • Toast and grind. Another personal touch is to toast your spices in a hot frying pan, just until fragrant.  I use a mortar and pestle to freshly grind some of the spices when I can. Things like cumin, coriander, and chili. Again, if you have to use packaged spices, you’re still going to be ok. I’ll add a little bitter chocolate to the mix as well, again to taste.
  • To soak or not to soak? I tend to favor Texas-style hearty meats and big proportions, but I add beans liberally. And contrary to common practice, I do not soak the beans in advance – I do a quick simmer for an hour and then add them to the concoction.
  • Listen to your taste buds.  I’m a big ad-libber and mostly look at recipes for the ingredient lists.  I pretty much mix and match and vary the quantities, tasting and adjusting the quantities of salt, chili peppers and other spices as I go. My taste buds are my most important measuring spoon.
  • Refrigerate overnight before feasting.  If you can possibly wait, make your chili the day before and refrigerate it overnight, which allows the flavors to meld together. It’s been my experience that the chili is always better the second day…and the third day too!

The best part of the experience is heating up the chili the morning of the big meal, dishing it up to friends and family, and seeing smiles on their faces when they take that first bite. Having a bevy of toppings at the ready is a nice touch too. Things like grated cheese, diced onions, and sour cream will add to the overall presentation.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly chili recipe, Food Bank Nutrition Education Program Director Molly Burke recommends this delicious Vegan White Bean Chili recipe from our friends at