In celebration of National Chili Day and The Office’s upcoming 15th anniversary, Entertainment Weekly looks back at the time Dunder Mifflin’s bumbling accountant Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) lugged in a huge pot of his famous chili to share with his co-workers — and spilled it all over the floor.
“At least once a year, I like to bring in some of my Kevin’s Famous Chili,” he says in the season 5 episode “Casual Friday” (watch a clip below). “The trick is to undercook the onions. Everybody is going to get to know each other in the pot. I’m serious about this stuff. I’m up the night before, pressing garlic and dicing whole tomatoes. I toast my own ancho chilies. It’s a recipe passed down from Malones for generations — it’s probably the thing I do best.”
When The Office shot this classic cold open, they just used Hormel chili from a can. EW took it one step further and faithfully recreated Kevin’s family dish. (Recipe developed by Adam Hickman.)
Kevin’s Famous Chili Recipe
4 dried ancho chiles (about 1 3/4 oz.)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 lbs. 85/15 lean ground beef
2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion (from 1 [12-oz.] onion)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped jalapeño chile (from 1 [2-oz.] chile)
8 large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 (12-oz.) bottles lager beer
3 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 Tbsp. water
3 cups beef stock
2 1/2 cups finely chopped plum tomatoes (from 3 large tomatoes)
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sliced scallions (from 2 scallions)
1. Tear ancho chiles into large pieces, discarding seeds and stems. Place ancho chiles in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer ancho chiles to a food processor; process until very finely ground, about 1 minute. Remove, and set aside.
2. Add oil to Dutch oven, and heat over medium high. Add half of the ground beef; cook, stirring occasionally to break beef into small pieces, until well browned, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef from Dutch oven to a plate, and set aside. Repeat with remaining beef.
3. Pulse onion in a food processor until finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Remove from food processor, and set aside. Add onion to Dutch oven, and cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. (Onion will be undercooked.) Remove from heat.
4. Process jalapeño in a food processor until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Finely grate garlic using a Microplane grater (or press with a garlic press). Add ground ancho chiles, finely chopped jalapeño, grated garlic and oregano to Dutch oven; cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, until jalapeño starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add beer; cook 7 minutes, stirring and scraping occasionally to loosen any browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven.
5. Meanwhile, place beans and 1 tablespoon of the water in food processor, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. (If necessary, add remaining 1 tablespoon water, and process until smooth.)
6. Add pureed beans, stock, tomatoes, salt, and cooked beef to Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low to maintain simmer, and cook 2 hours so everything gets to know each other in the pot. Remove from heat; uncover and let stand 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or up to overnight.
7. Reheat, and bring chili to a simmer over medium high, stirring often. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and scallions.