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I’ve had a bunch of different chilies. From your everyday obtainable-by-can chili con carne, to chili with ground chuck and sausage simmered overnight with a touch of chocolate and lots of chiles, I’d thought I’d seen it all. Then came along a recipe from Bon Appetit calling for lamb and chorizo. This definitely isn’t your run of the mill chili, and not for those who are faint of heart. 

At first, I was incredibly hesitant about the lamb, it being different and all. But after shelving the hesitance, it ended up being delicious, prep work aside. The prep work was definitely that: work. Between having no idea how to properly debone something and weeping over chopped onions, it certainly took a little bit longer than other prep usually takes me. On top of deboning the lamb shoulders and chopping onions, there was also an issue of getting the chorizo out of its casing, something I’ve never had to do before. Once the prep was done, however, making the chili was a blast and a piece of cake.

I’m going to come right out and tell you that even though it was my first time making chili, I still strayed from the recipe.

  • Where the recipe called for red onions and ancho chili peppers, I used white onions and the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.
  • When the recipe mentioned utilizing the drippings from chorizo to sauté the onions, I had no choice but to deglaze the pan with some chicken stock and throw the onions in with that because the chorizo didn’t give off any grease.
  • I went low and slow, whereas this can be made in two to three hours. But come on, the longer you simmer lamb shoulder, the more flavour it has.

“All cooking is a matter of time. In general, the more time the better.”
-John Erskine, The Complete Life

This was taken after simmering for around 16 hours. I added the hominy in about 3 hours prior and it thickened up nicely afterwards.

This was taken after simmering for around 16 hours. I added the hominy in about 3 hours prior and it thickened up nicely afterwards.

Spicy Lamb and Chorizo Chili


  • 2 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 ounces dried ancho chiles (about 5 large), stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1 pound beef or pork chorizo sausages, casings removed
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped red onions
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 1/4 pounds lamb shoulder round-bone chops, trimmed, boned, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 15-ounce cans golden hominy, rinsed, drained


  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Cover and simmer over medium heat until chiles soften, about 12 minutes. Purée chile mixture in batches in blender.
  2. Saute chorizo in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until drippings come to simmer, breaking up meat with back of spoon. Transfer to fine strainer set over bowl. Let chorizo drain 10 minutes.
  3. Return 1/4 cup chorizo drippings to same pot and heat over medium-high heat (discard remaining drippings). Add onions, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Sauté until onions begin to soften, about five minutes. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper; add to pot. Sauté until lamb is no longer pink on the outside, about 10 minutes. Add chile purée and drained chorizo. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Add hominy. Simmer uncovered until lamb is tender and liquid thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Before serving, rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.)

Fairchild, Barbara. The Bon Appetit Cookbook. 792. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2006. 128-129. Print.