Award-Winning Chili – a hearty, unusual and scrumptious chili that’s flavored with green chiles, cilantro and fennel!

Given how cold and snowy it is in most of the U.S. today, I thought I’d share this delicious chili recipe. A fellow who purchased my cookbook at a holiday show told me his chili recipe had won the top award in his community so many times they asked him to stop entering the contest. I asked him if he would share the recipe and he immediately rattled off the list of ingredients. This is my version of his delicious chili – and it truly is an award winner! I was convinced that I would need to add chili powder (no, the original recipe didn’t call for it!) but, to my surprise, this chili doesn’t need it. Enjoy!

Award Winning Chili
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x


  • 1 can (4 ounce) chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (around 22 1/2 cups chopped)
  • 1 pound ground beef, elk, buffalo or venison (or a mixture)
  • 1 pound mild bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (10 ounce to 14.5 ounce will work) chopped tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel brand works well), undrained
  • Sour cream and grated sharp Cheddar cheese for garnish


  1. Place the green chiles and cilantro in the bowl of a small food processor and process until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the meat, sausage, onion and fennel until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off the fat; add the beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir in the chili-cilantro paste and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt (doesn’t need much). Serve with a dollop of sour cream and cheddar cheese.


Make ahead: chili can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat over medium heat.


Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

2 Responses to “Award Winning Chili”

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