Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

November 18, 2017

© Eva Kolenko

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Obama family’s chili

President Barack Obama has been using this chili recipe since college

President Barack Obama is an avid chili maker — it’s about the only thing he cooks. When the president gave this recipe to Good Morning America, he noted: “I’ve been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck. I can’t reveal all the secrets, but if you make it right, it’s just got the right amount of bite, the right amount of oomph in it, and it will clear your sinuses.”


1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
several garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
1 lb. (455 g) ground turkey or beef
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground cumin
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground oregano
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground turmeric
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground basil
1 tbsp. (15 ml) chili powder
3 tbsp. (45 ml) red wine vinegar
several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped
1 (15-oz./425 g) can red kidney beans
white or brown rice, to serve
accompaniments: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions and sour cream


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, green pepper and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Combine the cumin, oregano, turmeric, basil, chili powder; add to the ground meat. Add the vinegar and tomatoes.

Let simmer until the tomatoes cook down, about 1 hour. Alternatively, transfer the chili to a slow-cooker set on low and cook for at least 6 and up to 8 hours.

Add the kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes. Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream. Serves 4.

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