Classic chili served over grits – A true Southern twist

Chili over grits photo by Kathy Miller

I asked Joy Georges McCabe, my go-to person in Knoxville, Tennessee, what she likes to cook during football season, thinking she would have a good Super Bowl recipe.

Joy does a cooking segment on WBIR Station in Knoxville and shared with me, “I’ve got Chili and Grits on Live at Five at Four today. It truly is a great combination- reminds me of a tamale.”

Joy McCabe Live at five at four cooking segment

Joy says, “I know it’s hard to believe, but chili and grits are a great combination. My wonderful mother-in- law, Tutter, who raised 10 children, taught me to add grits to the bottom of a chili bowl. She did it to make the chili go farther for her big family.”

chili over grits photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 package chili seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chopped jalapeno for garnish


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1½ cups uncooked quick grits
  • ½ stick butter, optional


  1. Sauté onions and green peppers in oil over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add ground meat and cook until meat has browned. Drain excess grease if needed.
  3. Add chili seasoning, salt, kidney beans, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Mix well.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered 20 minutes stirring often.
  5. Serve chili in individual bowls over a spoonful of grits and top with grated sharp cheddar cheese and jalapeno.


  1. Bring water, milk, and salt to a simmer. Using a whisk, stir in grits; reduce temperature to medium low.
  2. Stirring often, cook on medium low heat about 10-15 minutes until grits have thickened.
  3. Remove from heat, add butter and allow to melt. Stir before serving.


If grits are too thick, thin with milk or water. Use quick grits, do not use instant grits. For a lighter version: In place of whole milk or cream, use skim milk. Kathy's note: I simmered the grits longer to absorb the liquid. Also if you like a spicier chili add hot sauce, green chilis and tomatoes or more spices.

By Joy McCabe via KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from

I agree and thought this would make a great recipe for a Super Bowl Party.  We did spice it up a little since my group loves heat!

Thank you Joy for sharing  many tailgating recipes from your cooking arsenal.

Visit Joy’s website, for more mouth watering recipes.

Catfish Supper with Joy McCabe kathymillertime

Many of you may remember my post on Joy… A Summer Fish Fry With Joy McCabe

Watch for upcoming Super Bowl party recipes.  Send me your favorite chili recipe!

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


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