With cozy season now in full swing, warm up with something yummy — and healthy.
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Credit: Courtesy of Jess King and Sophia Urista

With the days growing shorter and the air feeling crisper — not to mention new music from Adele to set the mood — fall is officially in full swing. Even if you're not stoked about the chilly temps, chances are you're craving something warm, comforting, and delicious to cap off your day. Fortunately, Peloton's Jess King and her partner, singer Sophia Urista, have just the recipe that they're pretty sure could win the top prize at any chili cook-off.

"For me, chili is an indication of either a long day or a cold day — you want something hearty to fill you up and make you feel warm," King tells Shape. "And it reminds me of a gathering of friends. It's such a nostalgic, classic connection and so many people can relate to that. And we got to feed our entire friend group with that batch we made, so it's efficient in so many ways. Especially for people who are interested in nourishing their bodies after working out — chili is a great way to do that. It's full of protein, it's easy to eat on the go."

As the co-hosts of the Instagram cooking series Ooo Mami, King and Urista take food seriously (but not themselves, as evidenced by their hilarious on-screen antics). So when the Italian goods company, Colavita, supplied the couple with organic extra virgin olive oil, crushed tomatoes, and red kidney beans, King and Urista got to work on developing an irresistible recipe fit for the fall and winter holidays. (Related: How to Make Chili 15 Fantastic Ways)

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Credit: Courtesy of Jess King and Sophia Urista

"One of my goals in life is to be the ultimate abuela [Spanish for "grandmother"], so I'm just trying to add more recipes to my arsenal," says Urista. "So when I ring that triangle at the end of the day and all of my grandchildren and family come, they know they're getting something amazing."

That fantasy of grandmotherhood might be a ways off for the couple, who got engaged last fall, but for now King and Urista are perfecting their culinary skills by testing recipes on friends and family. In their eyes, this is not your average chili.

"We have a friend in our group who takes his chili very seriously," says King. "And it's very good, we've had it many times — but we think ours is better. So we challenged our friend — and not only that, but we want to challenge anyone out there — to make our chili recipe and then enter a chili contest. We feel really strongly that this is a winning recipe. We might even take this on the road, I don't know! Maybe we should buy a food truck." (Related: Peloton's Jess King On Coming Out and the Importance of Proudly Repping the LGBTQ+ Community)

Not that the couple has ample downtime to start up a mobile chili business at the moment. While King is busy teaching Peloton cycling, running, and Pilates classes, Urista, who is the lead singer of the band Brass Against, is gearing up to perform an entire set of her own music at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn.

Main gigs aside, the couple is also busy creating content for Ooo Mami, a passion project they're hoping continues to evolve. The show has helped open the cooks' eyes to meaningful causes in their community. "I was making chicken soup [for the show] and it was the middle of the pandemic and I was feeling almost helpless because I was making all this soup and I thought, 'I wish I could make this for my community or a local kitchen that's helping people who are less fortunate,'" says Urista. She was moved to partner with The Campaign Against Hunger, a Brooklyn-based organization that feeds over two million people a year locally. She's been working on working on the organization's musical programming for their upcoming fundraising gala.

Urista and King are also making time to enjoy the season with friends and family. "Holidays are all about the home and family and sometimes that looks different for everyone," says King. "We feel very blessed by our family, our friends, Ooo Mami, and even just being on Instagram — to open up our homes and channels to other people to share love and maybe help people feel less alone. It's exciting to think we're out there and we're all getting through the highs and lows together and the holidays can be both things for people. And laughter is a huge way we express that — it's contagious. We just want to share that joy." (Related: Peloton's Jess King On Why Everyone Should Be Doing Pilates)

To share in King and Urista's joy, try their Colavita chili recipe below. (And if you win big in a competition, make sure to let them know by tagging them on Instagram.)

Jess King and Sophia Urista's Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

Optional Toppings:

  • Vegan sour cream
  • Vegan cheese
  • Chopped red onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Corn nuts (or Fritos)

*You can substitute dried chilis based on availability. While ancho and guajillo chiles are similar in flavor, they're not the same. Ancho chiles have an earthier, smoky flavor, whereas guajillo chiles are a bit fruitier with only hints of smokiness.

Directions:

  1. Remove seeds from ancho, guajillo, and pasilla chiles and place chiles in a medium bowl. Pour in 3 cups of boiling water and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let sit until chiles are softened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer chiles and soaking liquid to a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season beef chuck with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook, turning pieces once, until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Repeat for the ground beef. Do not break ground beef into small bits; brown in large chunks. Transfer to a large dinner plate or sheet pan to rest.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to pot. Cook, stirring often, to loosen browned bits from bottom of pot, until onions are translucent and very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until spices start to stick to pot, about 1 minute. Add Colavita crushed tomatoes and brown sugar and scrape bottom of pot to loosen spices, then add lager beer. Bring to a bubbling simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until beer is almost completely evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cut beef chuck into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding any large bits of fat or gristle.
  5. Add beef chuck, ground beef, reserved chile purée, Colavita kidney beans, and 2 cups water to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, break up ground beef, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, until liquid is thickened and meat is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Taste chili and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Divide chili among bowls and top as desired.