EMERSON LAKE & PALMER – Chili Con Karn Evil 9





It’s Super Bowl week and even if you are not that into the game almost everyone loves a good gathering for the event.  And no Super Bowl Party would be complete without a classic version of America’s favorite southwestern dish, chili con carne.  Con carne simply means “with meat” and we won’t skimp on that.  Karn Evil 9 is a selection of music from ELP that most people are familiar with the 2nd Impression.  There is no such thing as 9 Alarm Chili, but I do have a ladder of suggestions of how you can increase the spice and heat content from the basic recipe.

I find myself listening to Emerson Lake & Palmer much more in the past few years than I did in my youth.  Seventies Progressive Rock is a lot of what interests me lately.  ELP are one of the pioneers and biggest names of the genre.  Carl Palmer has always been my favorite percussionist, but I’ve really zoned in on Greg Lake’s influence on the band including his prior work with King Crimson.  One of my great regrets is to have never had the pleasure to see this trio in concert and now that Keith Emerson has left us that will never happen.  ELP remain one of the driving forces in blending Classical music and Rock together and their work has had a tremendous effect on my understanding of the great composers like Mussorgsky and Copland.

This is a basic chili recipe with ground beef and kidney beans as the focus.  I recommend using pure chili powder such as ancho chili powder which is very mild.  It’s obviously more expensive so if your budget is a little tighter please use your basic brand chili powder.  If you want to increase the heat use some chipotle powder to blend with the ancho chili powder depending on how spicy you like your chili.  Chipotle packs quite a punch so be careful.  I have a lot of suggestions among the ingredients ranging from adding Jalapeno or Serrano chili peppers which are very hot.  There is nothing hotter than a Habanero chili or chili powder as far as you can purchase from your basic grocer.  There are plenty of chilies from India that are even hotter but only available at specialized stores and not relevant here.  Please be careful my fellow Gringos when adding very hot peppers and powders to spice up your chili.  We want you in good spirits for your Super Bowl party and your guests happy.  Serve this chili and your friends will sure to be back.






3 TBSP Olive Oil

3 lbs. Ground Beef

2 large Yellow Onions, peeled and finely chopped

3 15 oz. cans Crushed Tomatoes

4 15 oz. cans Red Kidney Beans

3 TBSP Pure Chili Powder (* see note)

1 ½ TBSP Ground Cumin

1 TBSP dried Mexican Oregano

2 TSP Salt

1 TSP Ground Black Pepper

1 TBSP Cocoa Powder (optional)

¼ to 1 TSP Cayenne Powder (optional)

1 to 8 Jalapeno or Serrano Chili Peppers, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

1 or 2 Habanero Chili Peppers, seeded and finally chopped (optional)

1/8 to 1 TSP Habanero Chili Powder (optional)

A few or many drops Hot Sauce (optional)

6 cups Beef Stock or Water



  1. In a large, 8 qt stock pot heat the Oil on medium
  2. Add the Ground Beef and start breaking apart with a large wooden spoon
  3. Add the Onions and fry together until the meat is browned
  4. Add the Tomatoes and stir together to allow the juices to sink into the meat and onions for a minute or two
  5. Add the Beans and give a few good stirs to blend everything together
  6. Add the Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, and any additional ingredients you wish to use and give everything a good stir several times for another minute or two
  7. Add the Stock or Water and raise heat to high and bring to a boil
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking till most of the liquid is absorbed and chili has the consistency you desire. About 2 hours.


SERVING SUGGESTIONS; Serve over plain white rice in bowls topped with shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, chopped red onions, hot sauce, and/or chopped Jalapeno peppers


WINE PAIRING:  Yes, you can drink wine with chili but c’mon man nothing goes better than a cold BEER no matter how hot or mild you serve it.  Grab your favorite brew and have a second helping for the big game.


Author: Steve Melchior

I am a lover of many eclectic things; food, wine, art, music, travel, sports, movies, literature and of course The Grateful Dead. I combine all these interests into great ideas for food preparation and entertaining with friends and family.

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