This weekend’s drizzly skies and cool temps gave Ben and me an excuse to hang out at home, get some laundry done, and COOK FALL THINGS like Sam’s No. 3 Kickin’ Green Chili!


This green chili-spiked, thick and slightly spicy chili hails from Sam’s No. 3 in Denver, CO – the joint featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives that Ben and I ate at while visiting my little bro earlier this summer – and I’ve been waiting since the minute we slid out of our cozy booth at the restaurant to recreate it at home. This cool, drizzly, late-summer Sunday felt like the perfect day to do it.

Luckily the recipe for Sam’s famous chili, which I used to smother the cheesy breakfast burrito I ordered at the restaurant, is available on the Food Network’s website, except, oh right, it’s big enough to feed an army and contains THREE STICKS OF BUTTER.

Well, not only did I scale the recipe down to feed a family-sized crowd, but I made it tons healthier too. You will love this chili – it is totally going into my Fall and Winter chili/soup/stew rotation!


Start with 1-1/2lbs pork shoulder trimmed and cut it into bite-sized pieces. I got 3lb for $5 at the grocery store today – it is an awesome, tender, and inexpensive cut!


Toss the pork into 1 Tablespoon canola oil heated in huge Dutch oven or soup pot, then let it cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Pork shoulder is best cooked low and slow, so make sure your temp stays at medium no matter what, mmkay?


After 10 minutes are up, sprinkle in a bunch of aromatic seasonings including 1-3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes, 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder, and 3/4 teaspoons pepper.


Followed by 1 chopped onion (or meticulously hand grated if your husband has a serious aversion to crunchy onions!)


Let the pork cook for another five minutes in the seasonings and onions, until it’s cooked all the way through, then add in 3 large tomatoes that have been peeled and chopped fine.


Here’s a great tip for peeling tomatoes as taught to me by my father circa 1993 during his short-lived, yet extremely intense, canning phase. I think there are still some pickled beets in my parent’s basement that will outlive us all.

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Anyways, slice the top off your tomatoes, then cut a small “x” on the bottom. Plunge them into boiling water for 10-15 seconds, then remove to a colander.

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As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, slip the tomato right out of its peel, then zip ’em through a food processor, or chop ’em up real fine. Whichever you please!


To the fresh tomatoes, add 1 can petite-cut diced tomatoes and the ingredients that give Sam’s No. 3 Kickin’ Green Chili its namesake KICK:


2 minced jalapenos and 2, 4oz cans diced green chilies. The combo of these two heat sources is SO good, but not too spicy, actually! Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes.

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Next add 4 cups chicken broth, and bring the chili to a rolling boil.


While the chili’s coming to a boil, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then sprinkle in 1/4 cup flour. Whisk until smooth then let it cook, whisking every so often, for 1 minute.

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Finally, sloooowly drizzle the butter/flour mixture into the chili while violently whisking to ensure that everything stays nice and creamy.


Turn off the heat, let the chili thicken for 5 minutes, then ladle into the sweetest little mini chili pots you can find (these are from Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC, courtesy of my in-laws!) and serve!


Sam’s No. 3 (Lighter) Kickin’ Green Chili

5/5 (2 REVIEWS)


Sam's No. 3 (Lighter) Kickin' Green Chili is a lighter, copycat recipe from Sam's No. 3 in Denver, Colorado!


serves 8

  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed & cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, grated or chopped
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled & chopped small
  • 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2, 4oz cans green chilies
  • 1-2 jalapenos (depending on how spicy you want it), minced
  • 4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup butter (could use Earth Balance Vegan butter)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free or all-purpose flour (chili will not be GF if using AP flour)
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, Tabasco sauce, and crushed tortilla chips


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, then cook for 10 minutes. Add onion and spices then cook until pork is no longer pink in the center, about 5 more minutes. Add fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, green chilies, and jalapenos, then bring chili to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high and bring chili to a rolling boil.
  2. While chili is coming up to a rolling boil, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Very slowly drizzle mixture into the boiling chili, whisking the chili vigorously the entire time. Turn off heat, give chili one last big stir, then let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Adapted from Sam's No. 3 via Food Network

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


This chili is the best! Great when eaten alone, and beyond amazing when smothering a gooey cheese quesadilla, which is what I made for Ben.


Since I have to get into a swim suit next weekend (SHRIEK!) I went the lighter route and crushed a few tortilla chips and sprinkled a bit of freshly grated cheddar cheese on top.


Oh, don’t forget a few hearty dashes of green Tabasco sauce, either. It gives this already kickin’ recipe a spicy/tangy/vinegary BOOT that I just love. ;)