Wacipi-Inspired Chili

 Wacipi-Inspired Chili

Wacipi-Inspired Chili

Years ago, a friend invited me to attend a local powwow or Wacipi (meaning “They Dance” in the language of the Dakota Sioux).

It was a unique experience. I simply stood back and watched. One of my best memories of that event, though, was the chili that was served from large roasters into paper bowls with warm fry bread for dipping.

It was a strong-flavored, ground beef chili with beans, and it was loaded with green bell peppers. Years have passed, and I am still struck by how wonderful that chili was.


  • One 15-ounce can of chili beans
  • One 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • One 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Two 15-ounce cans of chicken broth
  • 2 ½ tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 2 ½ tablespoons New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, plus additional to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • 3 pounds ground round
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dark brown pure cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice


Separate the beans from their liquid and set the beans aside for now. Combine the bean liquid, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, chili powders, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well to remove any lumps.

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Brown the beef and onion in a skillet. Drain, then add to the pot. Add the bell peppers. Simmer the mixture for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, lime, and beans. Return the pot to a boil, then remove it from the heat.

Add additional garlic powder and salt to taste 15 minutes prior to serving.


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