State Fair Chili

  • Serves

    serves 8

This hearty chili is a Minnesota State Fair staple, spiked with chile powder and paprika. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2012 issue along with Jane and Michael Stern's story Fair and Square.


  • 14 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 14 cup chile powder
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add beef, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 25 minutes. Add chile powder, tomato paste, paprika, salt, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 1 hour. Add beans, and cook, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Season chili with salt and pepper.

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