Holiday Time

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Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

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Published: October 2014
Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes  



It was born in the American West, to feed hungry cowhands on long cattle drives. A chuck wagon staple since the 1880s,  ingredients  included everything from beef to buffalo to boar to venison, chilies, and more, like rattlesnake.  And by the 1940s, the popular dish could be found in towns from Austin to Boston.

Today, chili remains as one of America's staples and all-time comfort food.

Everyone has their own twist to the dish, including hotel restaurants. Expand your chili taste with some of the recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® brands.

Gator Chili

recipe provided by Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston (Fort Lauderdale), Fla.

Set on 55 lush acres on the edge of the Florida Everglades, the newly renovated Bonaventure Resort & Spa uses fresh ingredients right from the "Glades."


5 pounds ground gator tail

3 large onions, chopped

4 cloves minced garlic

1 cup beer

1 cup tomatoes

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons dried oregano

4 chili Habanero peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon dried ancho chile

1 pinch cayenne pepper

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons Canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons corn flour

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoons thyme

6 cups kidney beans, cooked

brown sugar, optional


Brown beef in two tablespoons hot canola and olive oils ( it will release liquid before it browns about a half-hour.) Set aside.

In another pan cook onions in two tablespoons of the oil until it starts to change color.

Stir in bell pepper and cook until soft.

Add garlic, and cook one minute.

Stir in cumin, oregano, peppers, chilies and thyme; cook one minute.

Stir in brown beef season with salt and pepper.

Pour beer and cook until foam disappears.

Stir in tomatoes and sugar and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for one hour stirring occasionally.

Cover pan and simmer two hours.

Stir a few times.

Add beans and some of the liquid they were cooked in, then cook 10 minutes.

Check seasonings; serve topped with topped green onions.

Moroccan Chilian

recipe provided by Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, Texas

Set on San Antonio’s fabled Riverwalk, Hotel Contessa’s Las Ramblas Riverwalk Restaurant takes a Tex-Mex classic to Morocco.


1 pound ground lamb, cooked until grey and drained

1 bulb garlic, chopped fine

2 sweet onions, minced fine

1 plum tomato, peeled and chopped fine

½ preserved lemon, rinsed and minced fine

1 tablespoon Ras el hanout (found at Middle Eastern stores or kitchen speciality shops)

3 14-ounce cans tomato sauce (plain variety for cooking)

16 ounces tomato juice

16 ounces v-8 juice

1 tablespoon Harissa paste (found at Middle Eastern stores or kitchen speciality shops)

2 14-ounce cans garbanzo beans

4 dates, pit removed and minced

2 lemons, juiced

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Sugar, to taste (but will need about ¼ cup)

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoon Cracked black pepper

½ cup oil cured Moroccan olives, roughly chopped

½ bunch cilantro, chopped fine

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil


Add onion, preserved lemon, garlic, dates and tomato in a sauce pan, and set to medium low heat and stew down until very fragrant and color begins to darken.

Add tomato sauce, cooked lamb, tomato juice, V-8 and half of the ras el hanout.

Simmer for 25 min., then add Harissa paste, paprika, black pepper and garbanzo beans.

Slowly simmer for about two-and-a-half to three hours on low heat.

Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, olives, the remaining ras el hanout and cilantro.

Simmer an additional 25 - 30 min., adjusting salt, sugar, and lemon until balanced flavor is achieved.

Enjoy with a piece of good pita, lavosh or naan; a dollop of Greek yogurt is also good.

Florida Wild Chili

recipe provided by Villas of Grand Cypress  in Orlando, Fla.

Chili has a wild side at the four-star Nine 18 restaurant at the Villas of Grand Cypress, a spectacular golf resort in the midst of Orlando’s attractions.


2 ½ pounds wild boar

2 pounds Alligator meat

4 cups canned white beans

4 cups canned black eyed peas

3 pounds Spanish onion, diced small

1 pound green bell pepper, diced small

2 each habanero pepper, minced

11 garlic cloves, minced

24 each tomato, concassé (roughly diced)

2 ½ ounces cumin ground

2 ounces chili powder

1 ounce coriander ground

1 bunch cilantro fresh, chopped fine

1 bunch parsley fresh, chopped fine

8 ounces white wine

24 ounces V-8 Juice

2 tablespoons blended oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


In a medium pot on medium high heat, add oil, alligator, boar and seasonings and cook until browned.

Drain excess fat and add the onions, peppers and garlic; sweat the vegetable for five minutes.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook for five more minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and V-8 Juice, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about one-and-a-half hours.

Add the drained beans and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Fold in the chopped herbs.

Just before serving finish with a dollop of citrus crème fraiche and slivered green onions for garnish.

Pumpkin Three Bean Chili

recipe provided by Costa d’ Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach, Fla.

This hearty and healthy chili comes from the kitchens of the Costa d’ Este Beach Resort, 7-time Grammy Award-winning legend Gloria Estafan’s oceanside resort.


2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped

2 jalapeños, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

8 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained

8 ounces garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

8 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 pound pumpkin, diced

1 pound tomatoes, diced

3 cups chicken broth

2 ½ cups cubed grilled chicken thighs

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

½  teaspoon salt


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and jalapeños; cook and stir until tender.

Add garlic; cook one minute longer.

In a large pot, put the three cups of chicken broth and diced pumpkin cook for 20 minutes.

Add the grill chicken, tomatoes, all the beans and the ingredients cooked prior on the large skillet together with the spices, and cook for another 20 minutes.

photo credit: Florida Wild Chili, Villas at Grand Cypress, Orlando