Colder weather. Time for football, cozying up by a fire, and large steaming pots of simmering chili! Nothing beats a thick, meaty (and spicy) chili when hanging with family and friends. We just gorged our family on this chili recipe while celebrating my birthday this past week; so I wanted to share this heaven-in-a-bowl with you.
The dish “chili” is so named because historically it contained a delicious mixture of chili peppers. I decided to go back to chili’s roots by incorporating a ton of chili peppers… and I was rewarded with the best chili I’ve ever made. See the clear bowl in the top right of the picture below? It’s full of a diverse mixture of chili peppers, and that’s the secret to great chili – trust me!
- 2 lbs. ground beef, preferably from grass fed cows
- 2 medium yellow onions – chopped
- 1 bulb garlic – finely diced (yep, the entire thing)
- 1 green bell pepper – chopped
- 1 poblano pepper – finely diced
- 1 anaheim pepper – finely diced
- 1 cubanelle pepper – finely diced
- 1 hungarian pepper – finely diced
- 2 serrano peppers – very finely diced (seeded for milder)
- 2 jalepeno peppers – very finely diced (seeded for milder)
- 2 quarts canned crushed tomatoes (or substitute 2 – 28 oz. cans of store bought diced) – including any juice
- 2 cans dark red kidney beans (15 oz.)
- 1 can black beans (15 oz.)
- 1 can corn (15 oz.) or about 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
- 2 tsp red pepper sauce (I use Cholula)
If you can’t find the exact peppers mentioned above don’t worry, the key is a large variety – any variety – just be sure to incorporate a mixture of mild and hot peppers according to your palette – your research will be rewarded.
- 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 3 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tsp oregano leaves
- 1 tsp baking cocoa
- 1 pinch saffron (don’t overdo it, use about 15 flakes – this is the secret ingredient!)
1) Brown ground beef in the large stock pot you’ll cook the chili in. Drain if desired, but I don’t. Toss in onions and garlic and cook with beef for 5 minutes. Add all the peppers and cook an additional 5 minutes until peppers are soft.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients except tomato paste, corn, and beans. Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Continue simmering for 15 minutes.
3) Add tomato paste and stir until completely combined. Stir in the beans and corn. Cover and continue simmering for 1 hour, stirring occasionally covering and uncovering until it reaches desired thickness. Serve in a bowl with your favorite chili fixings. Best when served with a delicious cornbread!
Lots of Chili… Now What?
This makes a very thick, hearty, meaty chili, so add water if you prefer a thinner chili or just want to stretch it into more meals. However, this recipe already makes a BIG pot of chili. We look forward to eating from the same pot of chili for several consecutive meals, but consider these options if it’s too much for you:
- We often make noodles and have “chili spaghetti” when we’re getting toward the end of a pot and need something different.
- Freeze the remaining chili when family members are grumbling for something different. Ladle one-serving portions into containers and freeze so family members can thaw and eat for a quick meal or take for lunches. Remember to label these frozen leftovers so they don’t get ignored and fall into the dark abyss of the freezer.
- Scoop a small amount into scrambled eggs for “chili eggs” in the morning or make a chili omelet served with sour cream and cheese!
- Take some over to the busy neighbors, who will thank you for not having to think about making dinner.
- Use it for a very flavorful taco meat.
- Make “chili tortilla pie,” layering tortillas with chili meat, cheese, onion, tomatoes, lettuce, or whatever sounds good.
- Chili cheese fries? Yes, please.
Have fun tweaking this recipe to please your palate, and let us know if you came up with another great version (but I doubt it beats mine)!