I discovered the magic Wagyu makes when it’s the base for a decadent chili. This particular Wagyu beef chili was created by Chef Rick Warkel for the Northern California (Sonoma County) Wine Road Food & Wine Affair. The event included wineries from the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley.
Wagyu chili and wine pairing
Each winery paired one of their wines with a decadent dish. As with any well-produced food and wine events, there were many brilliant pairings. But this recipe stood out to me as the quintessential, decadent winter dish – especially when it’s paired with Mutt Lynch Zinfandel – Perotti Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley. The combination of this sinful Zinfandel cutting the indulgent chili makes for a sensual, one-pot meal.
Luckily, the chef was nice enough to share the recipe for this comforting, sirloin chili – which is easy enough for a weeknight but complex and powerful enough to serve to friends on game night, or to your lover to warm up a cold, winter night. It is made with ground American Wagyu beef, which gives it distinctive, over-the-top indulgence.
What is American Wagyu beef?
Wagyu is a breed of cattle. These are the cows made famous in Japan’s Kobe region. If you’ve heard of Kobe, then you have some familiarity with Wagyu. But American Wagyu is a little bit different from Kobe beef.
American Wagyu is beef from cows that are a cross breed of purebred Japanese Wagyu with traditional, American beef cattle, to create a meat that has the rich marbling of Kobe beef but with that “beefy” flavor of high-quality, American beef. Some beef lovers call this meat the “best of both worlds,” because it has that in your face meaty flavor along with the richness of highly marbled beef. I call it just the right ground beef for this chili recipe!
Why make a Wagyu chili recipe?
Yes, it’s true that by making an American Wagyu chili, you’re putting a luxury price on what’s normally a cheap, hearty meal. (American Wagyu can cost as much as three or four times more than grocery store beef.) But by using American Wagyu ground beef – specifically sirloin – for this rich, beefy chili, you get an indulgent quality lacking in your typical chili made with lean beef.
One note on the beef. The chef calls for coarsely ground meat. If you can’t get a butcher to grind it to order, you might want to get Wagyu beef sirloin and chop it yourself to get the indulgent chunks of meat the chef is looking for in this over-the-top indulgent stew.
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Is Wagyu ground beef chili an aphrodisiac?
Beef dishes don’t typically fall under the umbrella of aphrodisiac foods. Foods that have a potential negative impact on heart health simply don’t make the cut. Of course, meat lovers want to indulge once in a while. And it might be that Wagyu is the superior choice for getting a red meat fix without a negative impact to your libido.
One surprising nutrition fact about American Wagyu is that this meat has a lower mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio than other American beef. And surprisingly, according to the American Wagyu Association, this marbled beef has minimal impact on cholesterol levels, when compared with the meat of other cattle.
In addition, this particular Wagyu chili recipe is layered with the body temperature raising and oh-so-aphrodisiac effects of both fresh and dried chile peppers. So even if this isn’t your go-to recipe for a white tablecloth romantic dinner, this American Wagyu recipe might be just the thing for a cozy winter night for two in front of a roaring fire.
American Wagyu Beef Chili
- 2 dried ancho chiles
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 2 lbs coarsely ground American Wagyu sirloin
- 2 cups diced white onions medium dice
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 serrano chile cut into small dice
- 1 poblano chile cut into small dice
- 1 pasilla chile cut into small dice
- 1 tbsp kosher salt plus more, to taste
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper plus more, to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Mexican or sweet oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup dark chili powder
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- chopped fresh cilanto for garnish
- sour cream for garnish
- chopped white onion for garnish
- In a small bowl, soak the ancho chiles in the water until softened. Drain the chiles and reserve the soaking water. Chop the chiles.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the ground sirloin and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl, leaving the fat in the pot.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
- Add the green and red bell peppers and the ancho, serrano, poblano and pasilla chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with 1 tablespoon each salt and black pepper.
- Stir in the tomato paste, then add the oregano, cayenne and chili power and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the browned meat, tomatoes and reserved soaking water. Cover and cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Uncover and continue cooking until it reaches a nice "chili" consistency. Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.
- Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with cilantro, sour cream and white onion.
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This article was originally published in November 2017 and was most recently updated in February 2021.
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