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Filet Mignon Chili

Author Warren Bell


  • 2 pounds filet mignon cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 8 oz. pancetta cubed
  • 2 yellow onions finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 14 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans
  • 1 14 oz. can pinto beans
  • 2 tbsp. corn meal
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Liberally season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven or large heavy skillet on medium high. When hot, add a glug of canola oil, then cook the filet chunks until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook until just starting to crisp on the edges. (Feel free to use coarsely chopped bacon instead.) Reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for five minutes then reduce heat to medium low and allow the onions to simmer until golden and soft. (Don’t rush here, the browning of the onions really helps develop their flavor.) Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes.
  3. Add the meat and all its juices back to the pot. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the corn meal, allowing it to absorb the fluid in the pot and coat everything. Add in all of the spices and again stir to coat.
  4. Add in the tomato sauce and two cans (28 oz.) of water. Add in the beans. Stir everything to combine. Leave the heat at medium until you get a good bubbly simmer, then reduce to medium low.
  5. Simmer uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if the bubbling gets more intense. Add salt and cayenne to taste. The chili will be quite liquidy at first but reduces over time. If you feel like it’s getting too dry, you can simmer covered or add a little water.
  6. Serve in bowls with optional grated cheddar, parmesan, and diced onions.