Garlic Chili for Christmas Dinner? Well, Maybe…

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Caryl Simpson and Tom Reed of Gilroy, California wrote me when I was editor of Chile Pepper magazine: “Down there in chileland you think chiles make the world go round, but out here in the Garlic Capital of the World, we know better. After all, what would chili be without garlic? So, for all you chile wimps laboring under the delusion that the chiles make the chili we’ve got one to share with you in honor of Garlic Festivals everywhere and people who think anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.” The chili tastes best when refrigerated overnight and served the next day. It goes great with garlic bread!

50-Clove Garlic Festival Chili
Recipe Type: Chili con Carne
Cuisine: Cal-Mex
Author: Medium
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 to 8
50 Cloves of garlic? Yes, 50!
  • 50 (yes, fifty) medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 to 5 pounds pork loin, 2 inches thick, trimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoons Garli Garni seasoning (available online)
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and stem removed, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons filé powder
  • 5 cups chicken or pork stock
  • 2 cups pureed fresh tomatoes
  • 2 poblano chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped
  1. Blanch the garlic cloves in boiling water until tender, 7 to 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. Prepare a hot coals for grilling. Season the pork with the Garli Garni seasoning and brush the pork and onion slices with some of the vegetable oil. Grill the pork until it is brown on the outside and rare on the inside, and grill the onions until they are charred. Allow both to cool. Dice the pork and onions to 1/2 inch and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until very hot. Reduce the heat and whisk in the flour until the roux is deep brown. Allow to cool. Combine the paprika, chili powder, jalapeño, and filé powder in a bowl.
  4. Bring the stock, tomatoes, and poblanos to a simmer in a saucepan. Over low heat, whisk the paprika mixture into the roux and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the hot stock, one cup at a time. Add the grilled onions and bring to a boil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Garli Garni, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the blanched garlic and simmer until thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pork and simmer until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.


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Publisher | Christened the "Pope of Peppers" by The New York Times, Dave DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods.

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