New This Month

Chili Buffet Menu

Martha Stewart Living, November 2005

When you have guests coming or just want to have a few friends over, an easy, informal buffet ensures that everybody, hosts and guests alike, can enjoy a home-cooked meal and a night filled with catch-up chatter. Chili, beloved by most, is perfect.

Guests can load up their bowls as they like -- with chili and black beans (vegetarians might choose the beans on their own), plus mix-ins such as avocado, cheddar cheese, scallions, and crunchy tortilla chips. A romaine salad on the side is ideal, holding up longer than one made with more delicate lettuces.

Plan to make the chili a few days in advance. As it cooks, you can prepare homemade cookie dough to freeze. On the night prior to the buffet, just pop the preformed dough into the oven. After everyone's had chili, swap the setup for a platter of cookies and a couple of pints of ice cream, and dessert is served.

Chili Con Carne
Black Beans
Crisp Romaine Salad
Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinammon Cookies

Chili Buffet Cook's Countdown 

2 to 3 Days Before
Make the chili. Refrigerate. Prepare the cookie dough, roll into balls, and freeze.

Day Of
Soak the black beans early in the morning. Clean and store the salad greens. Cook the beans. Prepare the add-ins for the chili.

Just Before Serving
Bake the cookies. Reheat chili. Dress the salad.

Shopping List

1 lemon
4 ripe Hass avocados
2 heads romaine lettuce
3 carrots
8 ounces radishes
1 large white onion
1 medium white onion
1 small red onion
1 bunch scallions
6 garlic cloves
3 ancho chiles (dried poblano chiles)
Semisweet chocolate chips
Smooth peanut butter
Roasted, salted peanuts
Salted corn tortilla chips
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 pound dried black beans
Eggs and unsalted butter
Sharp orange cheddar
4 ounces pork (such as shoulder or chops)
2 pounds boneless chuck steak
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream
2 bottles beer (12 ounces each)

Pantry Items

Extra-virgin olive oil
White and red wine vinegars
Baking soda
Light-brown sugar
Granulated sugar
Ground cinnamon
Dried oregano
Ground cumin
Bay leaf
Pure vanilla extract
Vegetable oil


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