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Food & Drink

Halloween and chili: A perfect pair

Chili and Halloween go together like turkey and Thanksgiving. It’s tradition, it’s warm and satisfying, and it also feeds a crowd. Growing up it was either tacos or chili on Halloween, but our household has chili and usually one other soup, too.

Another Halloween tradition that commenced this past weekend was our friend Alexis’ Halloween costume party. The theme this year was icons, so naturally my husband went as Mr. Clean and I went as Wendy – from Wendy’s fast food chain. I even handed out free frosty coupons to make it all complete. Alexis rents a hot dog roller (who even knew you could?) makes a ton of chili and has all kinds of snacks and adult beverages. Apparently, I’ve skipped over the chili in years past because I really enjoyed it this year – so much so that I asked if she would share the recipe for this week’s column.

This chili is a bit lighter than a traditional manly chili. The tomato soup gives it a tiny bit of sweetness and creaminess rather than all of the liquid being tomato juice. Having two kinds of beans makes it interesting, and the addition of beer gives it a nice flavor, too. Alexis made 20 pounds of meat, and I don’t know how many hot dogs were consumed off that hot dog roller. I was responsible for eating 1.5 of them.

We live in College Hill, which everyone knows is the best Halloween neighborhood because of Broadview Street’s amazing displays of spooky decorations. There are quite a few other houses that go all out that aren’t on Broadview, but they’re sprinkled here and there.

Handing out candy is pretty fun, and I think it’s delightful that people come from all over the city to engage in the College Hill tradition. Holidays and traditions make for great memories – which is why we stick to chili. This year, I’m moving over the manly chili in exchange for this great recipe. I think I’ll have some guacamole and chips, a veggie platter and whip up some brownies and cookies, too. We have to be fueled well for all the running back and forth to the front door. There are usually about 1,000 eager trick-or-treaters who stop by.

Adriene Rathbun is an enthusiastic Wichita cook who offers cooking classes through her business, Social. Reach her at or

Alexis’ Chili

2 pounds 90/10 ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 15-ounce can light red kidney beans

1 15-ounce can ranch style beans

1 12-ounce can tomato juice

1 10 ¾-ounce can tomato soup

3 ounces beer

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Garnish: sour cream, chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onion. Stir occasionally to break up ground beef, cook about 10 to 12 minutes, or until ground beef is fully cooked. Drain, and return beef mixture to Dutch oven. Add chopped garlic to mixture and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until garlic softens and becomes fragrant.

Stir beans, tomato juice, tomato soup, beer, chili powder, salt and pepper to the beef mixture; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1-2 hours. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Garnish with favorite toppings.

Slow-Cooker Red Bean Chili: Cook ground beef and onion according to recipe directions; drain and place in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add beans and next six ingredients. Cover and cook on high for five hours. Garnish if desired.

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