Not sure exactly how to ask this. I was looking for a Russian Chili Recipe, and being from Siberia myself I never really encountered it before. Therefore I took a traditional recipe and modified it a little to make it more like a Russian dish. Here is my recipe that I cooked for my company's chili cook-off. I want to hear some suggestions and opinions on this recipe.

My question is:

Has anyone ever heard of a Russian Chili Recipe, and if so could this recipe qualify as Russian?


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • ½ pound of ground chicken
  • ½ pound of ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup of 2% milk
  • 1 15 oz can red pinto beans (drain)
  • 1 15 oz can black beans (drain)
  • 3 fresh tomatoes (cut to small chunks)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 large onions, diced finely
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced finely
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 4 Habanero peppers, seeded diced finely
  • 4 chipotle peppers, seeded diced finely


  1. In a large pot, heat the brown the ground beef, pork and chicken, making sure to continuously break up large pieces with a spoon or spatula. Once browned drain fat off of ground meat. Return the ground meat to the pot.
  2. Add onions and green bell pepper to the ground meat and cook over medium heat with stirring until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, sugar, thyme, cayenne powder, oregano, and black pepper. Heat over medium heat with stirring for 12 minutes.
  4. Pour in the beef broth, milk. Add pinto beans, black beans, cream cheese, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cider vinegar, chipotle, chili and habanero peppers. Stir to mix well.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours before serving or refrigerating. Footnotes Crack Pot Alternative: After step 4 you can pour chili in crock pot and cook it on medium for 6 hours.


It is best to have all ingredients ready to go before starting the process. Do not wait to dice onions or peppers. Get everything ready to go and then start the process. In addition, cutting chili peppers by hand can result in hands "catching on fire." It is best to use a grinder or something other than hands. If you do use your hands, please make sure to scrub your hands and wash with soap before you touch anything (like your mouth or your eyes). Even though this recipe calls for Chili and Habanero peppers in the end it becomes about medium spicy but with strong pepper flavor.

Please Note: Directions are taken from a traditional beef chili recipe and modified to accommodate custom ingredients.

  • 2
    Is it the milk that makes it a Russian Chili instead of regular Chili? Jan 4, 2011 at 22:32
  • 1
    Well milk, and the mix of different meats. Most of the time when you have ground meat in russian recipe you have beef, pork and chicken it mixed together. It used to be for simple reason that one would be cheaper than other. Jan 4, 2011 at 22:36
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    I personally wouldn't describe this as Russian at all. Admittedly my experience is narrow but: I never saw Russian cuisine with so many peppers, and although I did see beans for sale on the market I never saw them used by Russians for anything- only foreigners. Jan 4, 2011 at 22:47
  • 4
    Not sure about Russian, but my grandmother is Polish. Many of her traditional dishes use animal blood. I'm not sure where you'd get it, but it would make for some interesting chili. Something else that would be fun to try is putting a beet or two in your chili: borscht-ili! Jan 4, 2011 at 23:00
  • 4
    My suggestion isn't strictly "Russian", but if you wanted to make your Chili more "Soviet Bloc" you could try using adjika instead of the peppers, garlic, and spices.
    – ESultanik
    Apr 14, 2011 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


I think you've got a wide berth of possibilities but what's above seems pretty restricted. What you are listing above sounds like a pretty straight-forward Midwestern American chili. It has the features of the standard chili spices, beans and tomatoes, with a nice variety of meats.

As @Cold suggests, beets would be great to add for their sugar content. However, there are quite a few American recipes that utilize potatoes, so you might seek those out. Are there other vegetables to substitute that you recall as more native? Other beans maybe? How about caraway, dill, chervil, tarragon?

Vodka would seem like an easy route to go to appease the indigenous aspect, but I don't think it would yield much results in terms of impacting the flavor; especially in the context of the extant chili recipe. Unfortunately, I can't see the benefit of buffeting vodka against the flavors of cumin, coriander, clove, let alone hot peppers. On the other hand, Russians produce some amazing beers (I am a big fan of Baltika), and I would recommend looking into switching to a lager flavor or Imperial Stout as I mentioned above.

But for real, my spin would be to approach this from a Solyanka point of view (which would definitely give you ceiling room to try incorporating Medovukha); or really any of the other amazing cold Russian soups. Or perhaps try to incorporate mini dumplings like Pelmani, mini Kotlety, or use Shashlyk-style prepared meats for the chili. I would also consider trying to get some lamb in the recipe, in particular at the expense of the chicken.

But don't forget, chili is all about what you want to put into it (<-- self-promotional plug); not what the standard template lists.

  • that a great article that you found. They do very good job at describing Sibirian dishes. i guess i have to try different things with my chili recipe to make it more authentic. For starters i definitely want to add beets and vodka. Also for the meat to do Pork, Beef and Lamb like a combination in pelemeni(russian potstikers for the lack of better term). Apr 15, 2011 at 20:11
  • @SaUce I'm not convinced the flavor of the vodka would shine through, but like @Cold said in the comments, let us know if you cook something that kind of rings the bell! Feel free to add an answer of your own to your own question if you've thought of some additional ways to make the chili. Good Luck!
    – mfg
    Apr 15, 2011 at 20:22

I'm going to go ahead and phrase my comment in the form of an answer (just so there's something to accept or up/down moderate). My vote is for some form of beet. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea and think I'll try it myself when I get a chance. (I actually feel a little chagrin at claiming the idea since @SaUce mentioned borsch first. And who really owns an idea anyway. Well, except for Paul Allen and Nathan Myhrvold.)

Anywho, lots of chili recipes use a little chocolate or even coffee in small amounts to add an earthiness and complexity to chili. I think the beet could do the same. Personally, I wouldn't leave it in big chunks. If I was using fresh beets, I'd dice or even shred them possibly. Or, another alternative would be to use beet powder, which would contribute sweetness and some beet flavor while acting as a mild thickening agent at the same time.

This could even inspire a new Russo-Latin fusion cuisine movement. Maybe I'll patent it after all. ;)

  • Well i could always soak beets in Vodka before doing chili. Would that qualify as Russian? Jan 5, 2011 at 0:46
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    Actually, using a little vodka isn't a bad idea either. There are certain flavor compounds in tomatoes and chiles that are alcohol soluble (this is one of the reasons vodka is used in vodka cream pasta sauces). If you wanted to use vodka, I'd recommend adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, and peppers just before you add the beef broth, beans, and dairy ingredients. Then add a little vodka (like 2 Tbls to a quarter cup at most), let that boil up for just a minute while you give it a stir, then continue with the other ingredients. The alcohol will boil off entirely during the remaining cook time. Jan 5, 2011 at 2:06
  • 2
    Cook's Illustrated did a study on alcohol and cooking a while back. The exact amount varies, but their general conclusion was that only about 60% of alcohol cooks off unless you do a flambe.
    – justkt
    Jan 6, 2011 at 12:59
  • 1
    @SaU actually, forego the vodka since its a thick sauce and hit it up with an Imperial Stout when youre done blooming the spices and as your finishin carmelizing onions
    – mfg
    Feb 18, 2011 at 17:25

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