Jonathan Waxman's Ale Chili

By Marcus Samuelsson |

On my episode of The Taste [episode seven: “Good with Beer”], I particularly loved all the contestants with their varied approaches and wonderful personalities. This is exactly why I love being a cook—it brings to a head that we’re all so different. I can’t imagine making a soup exactly the way my neighbor does. If that were true, our profession would be so boring.

One of the contestants I coached on The Taste made a chili, so I thought I would share mine.



For the Chili

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon

2 pounds beef cheek

sea salt , to taste

freshly ground black pepper , to taste

2 onions , peeled and diced

1 head garlic, peeled and each clove cut in half

2 jalapenos, stemmed and diced

2 serranos , stemmed and diced

3 bottles Arrogant Bastard ale

1 tangerine, juiced and peel reserved

2 large, overripe tomatoes, stemmed and diced with juice

1 stick cinnamon

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 tablespoons butter

To Serve

creme fraiche

tortilla chips


cheddar , grated

scallions , chopped

tomato , diced

jalapenos , minced

Arrogant Bastard Ale


(Photo by Luca Nebuloni)


  1. Dice the bacon and cook in a large Dutch oven until golden. Then remove the bacon, leaving in the fat.
  2. Dice the beef cheek with the fat attached. Season well with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add the beef cheek to the Dutch oven and cook until dark golden brown. Remove the beef.
  3. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for five minutes or until tender. Add the jalapenos, serranos, beer, beef, bacon, tangerine, tomatoes with juice, and all the spices except for the paprika. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low. Cover the pot and stir every ten minutes for 3 hours. Add water to reach desired consistency.
  4. Add the smoked paprika and butter, and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  5. Serve with creme fraiche, fresh tortilla chips, guacamole, grated cheddar, chopped scallions, diced tomato, minced jalapenos and (lots of) cold Arrogant Bastard Ale.