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Get Ready for AMERICAN GODS with Laura Moon’s Chili

Get Ready for AMERICAN GODS with Laura Moon’s Chili

Sometimes joyful memories are the only things that can get you through the toughest of times. In Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods, Shadow’s prison time was eased with thoughts of his late wife Laura. The smell and taste of the chili she made was something that Shadow held dear and no other meal could come close.


Gaiman was incredibly descriptive in recounting Shadow’s favorite recipe. The flavors practically jump off the page:

“Laura made a great chili. She used lean-cut meat, dark kidney beans, carrots cut small, a bottle or so of dark beer, and freshly sliced hot peppers. She would let the chili cook for a while, then add red wine, lemon juice, and a pinch of fresh dill, and, finally, measure out and add her chili powders. On more than one occasion Shadow had tried to get her to show him how she made it: he would watch everything she did, from slicing the onions and dropping them into the olive oil at the bottom of the pot on. He had even written down the sequence of events, ingredient by ingredient, and he had once made Laura’s chili for himself on a weekend when she had been out of town. It had tasted okay–it was certainly edible, and he ate it, but it had not been Laura’s chili.”

Beer adds a deep flavor to the spice-laden stew, and by cooking it low and slow, the ingredients are broken down, making this rich and savory recipe the perfect homage to Shadow’s favorite meal. Make up a pot and settle in to watch the debut of American Gods this week on Starz.

Laura Moon’s Chili from American Gods

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs lean beef chuck, diced
1 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle dark beer (stout)
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh dill
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf

  • In a pot over medium high heat, cook the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil until softened.
  • Add the beef chuck and cook until browned.
  • Turn down the heat to medium-low.
  • Add the stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, chilies, tomato paste and beer.
  • Simmer for 60 minutes.
  • Stir in the red wine, lemon juice, and Worcestershire Sauce.
  • Add the chili powder, brown sugar, dill, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Serve hot.

Are you looking forward to American Gods? Let us know in the comments.

Images: Jenn Fujikawa

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