Cook chili to feed a crowd in Lafayette, Louisiana | Food/Restaurants

When Elizabeth Holland cooks, she cooks a lot. With two huge pots on the stove and a pyramid of chili ingredients covering the counter, she said, “If I’m going to cook like this, I want enough for leftovers or for the freezer in case of an emergency.”

She did start her married life as a terrible cook – relying mostly on Zatarain mix dinners and ordering pizza. Eight children and five grandchildren later, if she announces she’s cooking, they come to eat and leave with full takeout containers.

Her husband George said, “For our kids, it’s the best chili in the world because . . .”

Two pots of chili simmer on Holland’s stove.

“… It feels like home,” she finished his sentence, adding, “It’s about coming together. It’s a blessing when they stop by. It’s not about the recipe, it’s about the experience and the family gathered around making memories.”

Note: Hollandaise chili contains a lot of beans.

“We relied a lot on beans when we lived in Mexico,” she recalls of the years from 2005 to 2008, when she, her husband and their children worked as missionaries in Cuatzacualcos, Vera Cruz, and later in Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila. relying on donations to support the family of 10. “We lived on very little, but were still able to give a lot.”

“The Spanish I speak is mostly about God and medicine and food because that’s what we would share,” she said, describing how the whole family works to support the communities they live in — making home visits to incarcerated , connecting people with food and medicine and meeting needs as they arose, like when one woman’s house was flooded, so the older children and their father set out with a wheelbarrow to shovel dirt to remedy the situation.

At the table 10/12/23 Elizabeth Holland makes chili.jpg

Elizabeth Holland stirs a pot of chili.

Back home in Lafayette, she still relies on beans to expand her diet. Although the Dutch have only one child still living at home, the others often return, bringing friends, spouses and grandchildren.

Holland has three tips for pleasing people of all ages with this chili:

  • Keep soup, leaving room for garnishes.
  • Cut your sausage into bite-sized pieces before adding it so you don’t have to do it at the table
  • Let everyone make it their own by providing plenty of choices for toppings at the table like cornbread, corn chips, Colby Jack cheese and any special requests.

Holland makes it a chili-building party, noting that when you make it for yourself, you’re more likely to eat it, especially if you’re a picky eater.

This theory was put to the test when I served some of Holland’s leftover chili to my four-year-old niece, who had just proclaimed on the way home, “I don’t like chili!”

I put out a bowl for her and each of my kids, called it “Frito Pie” and put on toppings. They loved it, even the self-proclaimed chili hater.

At the table 12.10.23 Elizabeth Holland stirs chili.jpg

Elizabeth Holland stirs chili in her Lafayette kitchen.

The recipe is written large to feed a large family, so break out your large pots and go big.

Chili for a big family plus friends

Servings 20-25

Recipe by Elizabeth Holland

For the chili:

5 medium onions, chopped

3 large red peppers, chopped

1 bunch celery, chopped

3-5 tablespoons of olive oil

3 pounds ground venison

5 pounds ground beef, 80/20

2 32 oz jars Cajun Power Makin’ Chili Sauce

5 28-ounce cans of small diced tomatoes and their juice

5 15.5 oz cans of beans and their juice

4 15.5-ounce cans red beans and their juice

3 pounds lightly smoked pork sausage, Savoie’s or your favorite brand, cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons granulated garlic or to taste

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper or to taste



Frito’s Original Corn Chips (Small)


Colby Jack cheese

1. Divide the chopped vegetables and olive oil between two separate large pots. Simmer them covered for a few minutes to make sure the vegetables are sufficiently wilted.

2. Divide the ground meat between the two bowls and stir to mix with the vegetables. Continue to stir occasionally until they are fully browned.

3. Remove excess fat by straining the meat and vegetable mixture or pouring it through a slit left in the lid.

4. Add one jar of Cajun Power chili sauce to each pot, fill each jar completely with water, shake to remove any remaining chili sauce, then add this water to the pots and stir.

5. Divide the diced tomatoes and their juice between the pots, quickly rinse each can with a splash of water, then add this water to the pots and stir.

6. Divide the beans with their juice between the two pots, quickly rinse each can with water, then add this water to the pots and stir.

7. Divide the sausage, adding 1 1/2 pounds to each pot. Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients.

8. Add granulated garlic and cayenne to taste.

9. Leave to simmer on low heat under a lid for at least three hours. Taste after an hour and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

10. Use a spoon to remove any unwanted fat that rises to the surface.

11. Serve, allowing guests to choose from a variety of toppings such as cornbread, corn chips, sour cream and Colby Jack cheese.

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