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Hungarian-Style Chili with Polenta

Serves 4

Take the chill off with this delciously seasoned chili.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds coarse ground sirloin (ask your butcher, if available)
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (a palmful and a half )
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano (1/3 palmful)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda or smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream, for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh dill, parsley and chives for garnish


  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high to high heat. Add the beef and brown, 7-8 minutes. Add the hot pepper, bell pepper, onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften the vegetables, 7-8 minutes more. Stir in the chili powder, sweet paprika and oregano. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine, 1 minute. Add the stock to pot and bring the chili to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes more.
  2. In a separate pot, bring the water or chicken stock and milk to a boil; whisk in the polenta and cook for 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the butter and cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, fill shallow bowls with polenta, making a well in the center. Fill the well with ladles of chili and top with sour cream and herbs.