Serrano Pepper

Wake The Dead Chili


Note: All amounts are approximate. This recipe is just a pattern to follow, so suit your own taste.


•   2 lb stewing beef (round) chunks
•  4 15oz cans dark red kidney beans
•  1 28oz can crushed tomatoes with roasted garlic
•  1 medium onion
•  1 bulb garlic
•  1 small bunch Fresh cilantro
•  1 small bunch Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsely (optional)
•  1 small bunch Fresh oregano (optional)
•  6-8 medium-sized serrano peppers (See notes below)
•  1 T chili powder (optional)
•  1/3 cup red wine
•  1 T red wine vinegar (optional) 
•  1 T white vinegar (optional)
•  1 T Worcestershire sauce
•  2 dried bay leaves
•  1 t powdered cumin
•  2 t sea salt
•    fresh ground black pepper, to taste
•    olive oil


Peel and rough-dice the onion and garlic.
Saute onion and garlic together in olive oil until the onion begins to look transparent. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave oil in pan for next step.
Cut the beef chunks in half. Brown in saute pan in 2 batches, adding olive oil if needed. Drain and set aside.  
Deglaze saute pan with red wine and reserve the liquid. 
Drain kidney beans. Reserve the liquid. 
Rough-chop cilantro (and parsley and oregano, if you use them).
If using fresh peppers, remove the skin (I use a blowtorch for this.) and slice into ¼ inch rounds, with seeds and veins intact. 
Combine all ingredients, except kidney bean liquid, into a 1-gallon crock pot. It should be filled nearly to the top.
Add enough of the reserved kidney bean liquid to moisten as needed.
Cook on crock pot "high" setting for 4 hours. Then turn to low and let it sit for 24 hours total cooking time. When it is done the beans will be tender, the meat will look shredded, and the sauce will have thickened.

Additional Information


  1. This chili is way too HOT for some people. Just cutting-back on the peppers will not work, as the other flavors are balanced to accompany it. So you'll have to play with it a bit.

  2. Experiment with the peppers. You can substitute jalapeño peppers, but they are less hot than serranos. A combination of jalapeño, serrano, and dried red chili powder produces a nice balance of up-front heat with a pleasantly spicy after-taste.

  3. The vinegar is optional for those who like a higher acid level -- a matter of taste.

  4. This chili can be frozen in 2-4 cup servings, to be reheated with a microwave.

  5. Serving suggestion: Grate Monterrey Jack cheese on top of chili in a bowl. Use tortilla chips to scoop it up.

  6. Wash the chili down with a hearty home-brew ale.