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Nurse Nancy’s Hurricane Chili

When I worked at our local hospital, I had a wonderful nurse friend, Nurse Nancy, who lived on the Pamlico River. Whenever we had a hurricane, she came to stay with me – and she made her fabulous chili. There was a secret ingredient – Tequila.

photo of Chloe's Big Mill Hurricane Chili

Best Hurricane Chili

This comforting chili seems to please everyone. It has the right amount of kick and flavor.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings: 10
Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • 2-3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large green pepper chopped into pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
  • 2 10-ounce Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies medium heat
  • 3 15.5-ounce cans dark red kidney beans drained
  • 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoon chili pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Tequila
  • 1 8.5-ounce can corn optional
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded for garnish
  • sour cream garnish, optional
  • diced onion garnish, optional


  • Cook ground beef, bell pepper and onion in a large pot. Pour off fat and drippings into a Pyrex dish. I usually put the grease in refrigerator until the grease rises to the top. Skim off fat and add the remaining drippings to the chili pot.
  • Add the two cans of whole tomatoes with juice. Cut whole tomatoes in half with kitchen scissors. Add the Rotel diced tomatoes with green peppers and juice.
  • Add the beans.
  • Add the salt, chili pepper, ground peppers, lime juice, and tequila.
  • Cook for an hour on fairly low temperature.
  • To serve, garnish with corn, cheese, sour cream and diced onion. Bon appetit!
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Nurse Nancy and I had many fun times on the river. We never knew that looking back we would be so wistful. We had no fear. Often, we took off in her 16-foot open day sailor and sailed all the way to the Pamlico Sound. Darkness fell and, whew, finding our way home was interesting! We always made it and never doubted ourselves.

Before we came to Big Mill B&B for refuge, we readied her cottage for the onslaught of wind and water. An old-timer told us to remove every third board on her pier so that the water could escape and not take the pier with it. That year Nancy’s pier was the only one to remain intact for about a mile along the river.

For another hurricane, we made Hurricane Hannah Pear Preserves. My pear tree dumped bushels of pears during that storm.

I hope you enjoy this chili as much as we did.

photo of Chloe's signature

Chloe Tuttle
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Nurse Nancy\'s Hurricane Chili