One of my favorite comfort foods during the fall/winter seasons is a good, hearty chili. Do you have a favorite recipe? I thought I’d share mine and my personal twist.

I don’t recall ever successfully pairing my chili with a wine – until this season! I had just gotten back from a weekend of wine tasting in Idaho and was pretty excited about a 2016 Devil’s Bedstead Zinfandel from the Snake River Valley I picked up at Koenig Vineyards. They have a gorgeous tasting room and grounds. I highly recommend swinging by if you’re out and about in Idaho.

Koenig Vineyards 2016 Devil’s Bedstead Zinfandel from the Snake River Valley

Okay, I realize that Idaho may not be at the top of your “must see” list of travel destinations. However, I strongly suggest you consider it. Boise is a great foodie town with lots of amazing restaurants and a fun vibe. If you’re interested in hearing more about the wineries I visited and some of my recommendations, check them out here because this post is all about this particular food and wine pairing.

It was my turn to cook and chili sounded like it was going to fit the bill. I hadn’t yet made my chili for my boyfriend and thought that my Koenig Vineyards would pair nicely with the spices in the chili. Oh my goodness! I picked a winner!

As you’ll see in the recipe, you add a small amount of cinnamon to the dish. It’s relatively unnoticeable normally. But after one sip of that Zinfandel, the flavors completely changed! The spices jumped right out. It was one of those magical moments in wine and food pairing. I’m certainly far from being an expert – but I sure do love experimenting. And this one was a winner! I’m pretty happy that I still have an unopened bottle of the Zin (I rarely buy just one). It’s set aside for my next batch of chili!

So do you want the recipe? I discovered it almost ten years ago over on the Food Network. It’s the Beanless Beef Chili recipe by Sandra Lee. I follow the recipe for the most part. However, I actually add a extra jalapeno because I prefer a little more kick. There was one time where my grocery store was out of jalapenos – how does that happen? So I substituted a Serrano pepper for my normal two jalapenos. Wow. That was hot – even after I removed the seeds from the pepper! Oh, and I skip the scallions from the spiced sour cream.

I choose to serve my chili over some plain white rice. I think it helps soak up the sauce – and it makes my chili go a little farther. Something you may not know about me is that I despise leftovers. This chili is one of the exceptions! I love having this for lunch the next day.

If you’re interested in learning more about Koenig Vineyards, here’s how to get more info (accurate as of the date of this post):

Koenig Vineyards
21452 Hoskins Road, Caldwell, ID, 83607 USA
Open Daily Noon – 5pm (No appointment necessary for groups smaller than 10)


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