Chili Con Carne

It seems as if there as many ways to prepare chili as there are cooks who make chili. Ground beef versus chunks, pork versus beef, pinto versus kidney beans, beans versus no beans, red chili or green chili – the combinations, as the preferences for them, are endless. (The Wikipedia has a great write-up on chili con carne if you are interested in exploring its origins and varieties.) A few notes on this recipe. We use chuck roast because it holds up the best to long stewing. The meat and onions are cooked in bacon fat which contributes to the flavor. We include kidney beans because we like kidney beans, but you can substitute other beans or leave them out entirely. A little sugar is used to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice. The “secret sauce” so to speak of this recipe is the addition of chipotle chile powder, made from smoke-dried jalapeño peppers. Chipotle adds a smokey dimension to the chili, enhancing all of the other flavors. If you can’t find chipotle powder, Tabasco makes a chipotle pepper sauce that can be used to add some smokey flavor to the stew.

Everyone has their favorite chili recipe. This one is mine, what’s yours?

Chili Con Carne Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

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Chipotle chili powder

  • 2 Tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 3-4 Tbsp water
  • 4 strips bacon
  • One 2 1/2 pound chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced
  • 1 14-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 14-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in a couple tablespoons of water
  • Salt
  • Grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion for garnish

Method

1 In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, thyme, and ground coriander seeds. Mix in water so that chili forms a light paste. Set aside.

2 Cook the bacon in a large skillet on medium high heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat from the pan into a separate container, reserve. When the bacon cools, crumble it into smaller pieces and set aside.

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3 Increase heat to medium high, add back in 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don't crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides, lightly salting as you cook the beef. Remove beef from pan, set aside.

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4 Add another Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

5 Into a 6-quart thick-bottomed Dutch oven, put onion chili mixture, beef, bacon, tomatoes (break up the whole tomatoes with your fingers as you put them in the pot), water, lime juice and sugar. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

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6 Mix the cornstarch powder into a little water to dissolve the corn starch (otherwise you'll have lumps to deal with) and add to the chili to thicken it. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice you may need a little more sugar to bring the stew to balance. At this point you can also add a little more chili powder if you desire more heat.

Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion. Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, and or rice.

Links:
Super Bowl Green Chili recipe from Mac of Saucisson Mac

91 Comments

  1. scott

    To me making chili has always been about free form. Never thinking about how much of what it is you are putting in, or even necessarily what. But the best way I’ve ever done it is by using only fresh ingredients. Fresh tomatoes, celery, corn, red peppers, beef, home made baked beans, and best of all fresh chilis seeds and all.

    Although I love thyme (not so much oregano but the following still applies), I question it having a place in a chili recipe. It seems a little out of place. Cilantro leaves would be a better substitute as a fresh herb, as they lend well to tex mex, and will give the fresh leafy and distinct flavour that their seeds seem to lack.

  2. Jack

    Instead of 2 1/2 cups of water, I use beer. Something drinkable, but you don’t neeed anything special or expensive. I tend to have Bass around, so I use that and have been very pleased with the results.

    My Dad uses ground Buffalo and sausage for the meat. He gets great results, but the sausage makes mine too greasy. Buffalo alone isn’t fatty enough, he says.

  3. lydia

    Love your chili con carne recipe; it’s classic! Here’s my favorite chili, without carne, that is anything but traditional:

    http://ninecooks.typepad.com/perfectpantry/2006/09/black_beans_can.html

  4. kevin

    Elise,
    I’m with you on the cubed chuck and the chipotle — I mix my own chili powder. But for thickening I prefer adding a couple of tablespoons of corn meal (or masa harina if I have it) — I think it contributes to the texture.

  5. Charles

    Elise,

    Your chili recipe looks terrific. Here’s my all-time favorite. I seldom make it the same way twice. In the summer, I usually add anaheim chilis, during the winter, I might throw in stuff I have laying around. But what follows is the “core”. It’ll be good if you only use these ingredients. I should also mention that since we moved to the East coast, beef hearts are considerably more difficult to come by. (ooh- I just remembered, I pass by a butcher shop once a week, I’m gonna give them a call!) Thanks Elise! Almost forgot, I usually make this all in a single stock pot.

    1 lb. Ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, whatever you like)
    1 lb. Beef Hearts (cut into bite-sized cubes)
    1 onion (chopped)
    3-4 cloves garlic (smashed & chopped)
    2 Tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup Chili powder (more or less to taste)
    8 oz. can Tomato sauce
    16 oz. Hearty Burgandy
    14 oz. can of Kidney Beans
    1/4 cup(-ish) masa flour

    Brown the ground meat, hearts, onion, garlic and worcestershire. When it’s cooked through, drain it.
    Add the Chili powder, Tomato sauce, Burgundy, and beans. If you’re going to add anaheim chilies, here’s where I do it. Stir this all up, and let it simmer for about 15 mins.
    Make a paste with your masa flour and some warm water. Add this paste to the chili and stir it in — helps to thicken the chili.
    Let that simmer for a while longer. At this point, you can dish a bowl out if you can’t wait, but the longer it simmers, the better it gets.

  6. Bob Lohrmann

    Here’s my favorite. It seems to be as popular with others judging by the requests for the recipe I receive.

    WHITE LIGHTNING CHICKEN CHILI
    Adapted from COOKS.COM

    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
    1 whole white onion, diced
    1 cup frozen white corn
    1 yellow bell pepper, diced
    1 ½ cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
    5-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
    6 habanera peppers (very hot in this quantity! I use 3)
    ½ cup white wine
    1 can chicken broth
    2 tsp. cumin powder
    1 tsp. coriander powder
    1 tbsp. ground white pepper
    3 tbsp. olive oil
    1 lime, squeezed for juice
    ½ cup sour cream
    ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese

    Heat olive oil in large sauté pan to medium-high heat, and add garlic, onions, and chicken. Sauté for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

    In a large Dutch oven add chicken broth, cumin, coriander, ground white pepper, lime juice, habanera peppers (if mild chili is preferred, use fewer hot peppers, as desired – the quantity given is very hot!), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

    Add the chicken, garlic, and onion mixture, plus the corn, beans, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, and white wine.

    Cover and let simmer for approximately 30-35 minutes.

    When finished, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Garnish with the shredded pepper jack cheese, and serve with crusty garlic bread

    Notes:

    I poached the whole chicken breasts in white wine with the minced garlic until just done; let them cool and shredded them into small pieces with my fingers. I like the texture of the shredded chicken and it probably absorbs the other flavors a little better. Pour the poaching wine in with everything else, including the ½ cup already called for.

    I served additional sour cream on the side at the table. Use if desired to reduce the “heat.” To turn up the heat use the pepper jack cheese and/or pepper sauce. I like Emeril’s green sauce with the “white” ingredients.

    And yes, this seems to improve with every reheating!

    Bob Lohrmann

  7. jonathan

    Looks great. I also have an unconventional recipe I’ve been using for a while. After tweaking (for my family’s taste), it’s great. It includes 1 T. of cocoa, a cup of strong coffee, and a can of dark beer. I also make it the day before serving it. Something magical happens to the flavors overnight. The recipe calls for sirloin (I sub chuck). The modifications I made were to cut the amount of beans, brown sugar and hot peppers in half. Made it perfect for us:
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chili-I-2/Detail.aspx

  8. Dan

    I prefer ground buffalo and black beans, but I’m in agreement 100% with the chipotle. In fact, I just won a Chili Cook-off at the office, and I think the chipotle flavor (along with roasted *red* New Mexico chiles) probably had a lot to do with it. In my opinion, the other important aspect to good Chili is the consistency; far too many people end up with chunks in a soupy base, and that simply does not make for good chili. Rather than thickening mine, I avoid adding water (instead using the liquid from the tomatos and tomato puree) to arrive at the right consistency prior to simmering.

  9. LeisureGuy

    My chili is pretty much along the lines you suggest, except I use yellow onions instead of white. And I use a dash of liquid smoke and of Worcestershire sauce. I highly recommend Penzeys Hot Chili Powder.

  10. Anonymous

    My favorite way to eat chile is a “frito burrito”. It’s basically frito pie in a flour tortilla.

  11. VeggiesPlease

    I’m definitely in the never-do-it-the-same-way-twice camp when it comes to making chili – I love the feeling of just throwing a lot of good stuff into a pot (the phrase “wild abandon” comes to mind), especially knowing that it always comes out delicious. I will definitely be trying chipotle powder the next time – a bit of roasted flavor can only do a dish like this good.

    A suggestion from a self-described “picky eater” friend, who has no interest in eating chili (I know, it’s totally crazy. She has a lot of wonderful qualities, though, so we let this slide) gave my last batch an almost magical depth of flavor: a bit of cinnamon (!) did something mysterious and heavenly to my chili. It’s my new secret ingredient! Except I just told you guys. (What can I say, sharing is caring.)

  12. Trig

    Not at all a bad recipe – definitely agree with the chipotle – but I’d like to see it reduced down naturally to the right consistency without thickening with cornflour. My dad uses this technique with mince dishes but I think the cornflour, if added at the end, spoils the clarity of the final flavours. I may see if I can cook the same dish soon and let you know how it goes.

  13. Ian Forest-Jones

    Chili is definitely one of my favourite dishes, and I have been experimenting for a number of years. I certainly intend on trying your recipe, Elise, because it seems a good mix of ingredients. I especially like the addition of the chipotle. Since I have small children, I do not often get to make hot food. Perhaps I’ll send them to McDonald’s for one night this week.

    One recommendation that I would make, although I doubt many of your fans will have the opportunity to try this suggestion, is to use kangaroo meat. I am a Canadian-Australian, living in Sydney, and enjoy the taste of kangaroo. The vast majority of Australians have no idea what they are missing. Around Sydney, where I live, it is a cheap meat, but very lean. It’s taste is reminiscent of deer or moose. It gives chili a real earthy or gamey flavour, which I enjoy. I also enjoy serving it to my Australian friends and family who always ask after the ingredients and are always horrified when I tell them. Great fun!

  14. Stephanie

    Elise,
    Good looking recipe! I recently did a post of my own vegetarian chili on Scrumptious Street. Chocolate adds such a great depth to my variation.
    http://scrumptious.typepad.com/srbeack/2007/01/scrumptious_veg.html

  15. Chris Evans

    Hi Elise,

    Have you ever tried adding chocolate to your chilli? A couple of squares of 70% or 80% dark chocolate really brings out the flavours of the other ingredients and doesn’t add as much sweetness as you might think.

    Chris.

  16. Mike

    I’ve tried a number of chili recipe’s, but this one has become my favorite. The cinnamon flavor adds a nice twist.

    Chili con Carne
    Recipe courtesy Jamie Oliver

    2 medium onions
    1 clove garlic
    Olive oil
    2 level teaspoons chili powder
    1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin (or crushed cumin seeds)
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound (455 grams) chuck, minced or ground beef
    7 ounces (200 grams) sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (I use the Alessi brand if I can fine it)
    1 fresh red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
    2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes (400 grams)
    1/2 stick cinnamon
    5 ounces water
    2 (14 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained (400 grams)

    If you are going to use the oven method, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
    Chop up the onions and garlic in the food processor and fry in some olive oil until softened. Add the chili powder and cumin and a little seasoning.

    Chop up the meat in the processor and add to the pan, cooking it until slightly browned.
    Place the sun-dried tomatoes and chile in the processor with the oil and blend to form a paste. Add these to the beef with the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, and a wineglass of water. Season a little more, if need be.

    Bring to the boil, cover with greaseproof paper and a lid, then either turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours or transfer the pan to the oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
    Add the red kidney beans 30 minutes before the end of cooking time.

    I prefer to cook on the stove top rather than use the oven.

  17. Cary

    I am still searching for my dream chili that I remember from my first restaurant job. They are closed now, but I keep trying. In my last batch it wasn’t getting the rich, deep, roasty flavor I was craving that time; I added some strong coffee and a quarter cup of cocoa powder and it was delicious!

  18. Cynthia

    The chili recipes look great. All I would add is a square of unsweetened chocolate really cranks up any red chili recipe. A tablespoon of coco powder works too I here but I prefer the actual chocolate squares.

  19. Mary

    I made this last night and it was fantastic! I also sub’d turkey bacon for regular (it’s what I had on hand), cut the oil down to about 1 tbp, and added corn (because I love corn). YUM! I only cooked it for 1 1/2 hours because it smelled so good, I couldn’t wait any longer. Best chili I ever had.

    note: using a good chuck roast made all the difference. I usually make chili using ground or minced meat but the cubes were soft and meaty and delicious.

  20. Susan at Food "Blogga"

    Looks delicious! Chili is the quintessential dish for Super Bowl weekend–great timing!
    I make veggie chili with red and black beans, lots of fresh chiles, peppers, tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese; sometimes I add a little chocolate.

  21. El Cocinero Loco

    As you could expect I cannot possibly resist this one. One thing I have never figured out is how chili dishes became so picante. I am not complaining as I can eat that little red pepper you find in the Chinese food plate #6 and not regret it. But, here for the rest of the masses who for either religious or dietary reasons avoid meat and spiciness I present…

    Chili sin Carne (Chili without Meat) is a perfectly balanced recipe designed by me. My goal was to create a side dish balanced between healthy weight gain and healthy weight loss. This one is smack dab in the middle (with a ND Rating of 5).

    Bring a gallon of water to a boil for 10 minutes while you prepare. Once boiled stop the heat and let it cool to 122 degrees F. Soak your beans in enough water to make a watery porridge for 30 minutes at 122F. Then elevate temperature to 158F and hold the beans at that temperature for 60 minutes. There are enzymes at work here so bear the burden. A good stainless kitchen thermometer that clamps to the side of the pot works best. Once the 1.5 hours of steeping are over bring the beans to a roaring boil for 15 minutes to denature any creepy crawlies. You can let them just sit there and soak now until you deem they are worthy.

    Seek these beans from the Goya supplier. They come from Spain and are by far more healthy and higher quality than any other bean I have come across thus far. And, besides its a Spanish dish.

    Rinse twice and let dry. Put through a corona mill or wrap in a towel and mallet so that about two-thirds the beans are cracked by not crushed.

    1.5 cups dried black beans
    1.0 cups dried small red beans
    0.5 cups dried roman beans

    Make a fine soffritto out of
    1.0 cup celery chopped
    1.0 cup spanish yellow onion chopped
    0.5 carrot chopped
    3.0 tablespoons olive oil

    Julienne & Dice the following then combine into the soffritto:
    1.0 Ancho about 2 inches long (pulverize)
    1.0 Guajillo about 3 inches long (pulverize)
    1.0 green bell pepper 3″ round
    1.0 red bell pepper 3″ round
    1.0 yellow bell pepper 3″ round

    Combine into a seperate pot and let simmer:
    1.0 can of tomato packed in tomato juice (190g)
    1.0 can of tomato paste without salt (6oz)
    4.0 tablespoon chopped Oregano
    2.0 tablespoon chopped Corriander Leaf (Cilantro)
    2.0 tablespoon cumin seed (ground)
    2.0 tablespoon garlic powder
    1.0 tablespoon paprika
    1.0 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
    1.0 teapoon cayenne pepper (ground)

    When the soffritto is deemed worthy combine with your tomato sauce. When the beans are deemed worthy combine those too. Cook for a bit and serve.

  22. dsx

    These recipes sound delicious, chili is one of my faves. My own recipe is very simple, with a little bit of a trick for thickening and flavor many people don’t use:

    1 can of tomatoes, roughly pureed in a mixer
    2 cans of red kidney beans
    Half an onion and a 2 gloves of garlic (or powder amounts to taste)
    2-3 TBS of chili pepper
    1 TBS of sugar
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 LB cooked meat of your choice (I use hamburger, chuck cubes, or Italian sausage)

    Saute the onions and garlic in some butter, add the tomatos and the beans. With a potato masher (or whatever kind of object you can figure to use, a beer bottle etc) CRUSH the bean mixture rigorously for a good 4-5 minutes.

    Do *not* use a hand mixer.. this destroys the skins of the beans and ruins the taste/texture. The purpose here is to extract some of the starch from the beans for thickening while leaving their flavor intact.

    Add the meat and simmer on low for about an hour. It’s not complex, but the flavors blend well for a very decent base chili you can then fix up the way you like, with cheeses, a shot of burbon, various spices; explore it!

  23. CJ McD

    Oh my gosh– I love chili!!! in all of it’s forms. I often use bacon for a bit of extra flavoralong with a dash of cocoa and tabasco’s chiplotle sauce. If I can’t find smoked chipotles or chipotle powder, I add some smoked paprika to give it that mmmm-mmm-mmm smokey flavor.
    Thanks to all of you for your recipes!

    Great post Elise!

  24. chris

    2 1/2 cups of water, but where o where in the recipe shall they go? I assume with the meat and onions in the pot. I have two pots on the stove right now, one spicey, one not so much for guests tomorrow.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  25. Elise

    Thanks everyone, for some great chili ideas!

    Regarding the last comment from Chris about adding water, yes, put the water in the pot with everything else. I always double check these recipes before and after I post, but still some things escape me, for example the word “water” from the part of the recipe where it is supposed to be added. Thank you Chris for noting the omission, it’s now fixed. Thank you to everyone for having patience with me when things like this happen, and for pointing out obvious errors or omissions.

  26. Amanda

    I made this chili over the course of two days (I started it at 7:30PM and didn’t realize until well into the cooking process that it would not be ready for dinner) and it was perfect. It was our pre-Super Bowl lunch. I can’t believe how tender the chuck roast became! Thanks for the recipe!

  27. paul

    Elise,

    Your chile recipe suggests using chipotle powder or chipotle pepper sauce, but does not mention the type I am familiar with – the canned peppers in sauce used in your chipotle meatballs dish. Does the powder have a different flavor, or is it a matter of an easy substitution for the usual chile powder?

  28. Paul Goertzen

    I made this last night with the can of chipotle peppers the previous Paul mentions. DELICIOUS! I would only put in half the can next time though, as they dominated the flavour a little. Can’t wait for lunch today!

  29. Alan Papworth

    I agree with some writers that Chilli should be of the hoof,basically a good kilo of steak mince combined with a couple of sliced garlic cloves,two red chillis sliced seeds and all,a sliced onion, half a red and green pepper sliced,a couple of dashes of Worcester sauce,a couple of dashes of Encona West Indian pepper sauce mixed with a sprinkling of ground Cumin and hot chilli powder,a can of chopped tomatoes and a small can of kidney beans and topped of with a sprinkling of what ever decent Red wine you are consuming at the time, cook all of this on a low heat for 30 minutes and hey presto everyone thinks your a great cook.

    From Big Al in Norwich.

  30. chef charlie

    “If you know beans about chilli, you know that chilli has no beans” – Craig Clairborne, New York Times food critic, a quote that was reported in the NYT after attending an All Texas Chilli Cookoff c.a. 1970′s. When mentioned recently to friends from Texas, they simply replied “That’s right”.

  31. Linda

    Hello – I don’t have a dutch oven or any cast iron type of pot. could i just use a regular pot? I just don’t want the poor thing to burn or dry out. THANKS!

    Note from Elise: You want to use a thick-bottomed pan, so that it doesn’t burn, with a tight fitting lid so that it doesn’t dry out.

  32. Bill

    Good basic recipe there. The beef chuck, bacon and chipotle add great flavor. But, being more of a purist, I’d suggest leaving out the tomatoes and beans, and using three yellow onions instead of one white one. I usually used canned chipotle peppers, instead of powder. You can serve the chili over beans cooked separately, if you wish, or over a mix of rice and beans. I usually serve fresh cornbread on the side.

  33. Michael

    Amazing recipes, and “El Cocinero Loco” blew me away by adding what I had thought to be my own family’s “home made” chili recipe almost as someone had snuck into our kitchen (we add cumin and oregano though). Very simple is very good in the case of this chili.

    Great minds think alike I guess; my mother taught me the trick of mashing down the beans some with an old school potato masher in order to thicken and flavor things up. What’s interesting is that if you try and cut a corner and use a processor on the beans, it completely ruins the chili. The red bean skins, when shredded, release a lot of pretty strong flavor as opposed to just pressing them some and getting that nice starchy ‘stuff’ that acts as a thickener.

  34. Stacia

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. I’ve never made my own chili spices and I was pleasantly surprised. We served it with cheese and sour cream and some flour tortillas, and my husband couldn’t stop eating. It thickened up really nicely with just the corn starch. I was skeptical, as my mom’s chili was always made with leftover cooked pinto beans; she used liquid from the cooked beans to thicken her chili, and I didn’t think 1 t. cornstarch would emulate that.

  35. Tomoko Negishi

    I made the chili con carne this week and my family LOVED it. They were very very enthusiastic. My husband and son (3.75ys) was truly impressed. I did cut back on the chipotle and jalapenos since my kid is still acclimating to spicy foods. Thanks again for a GREAT meal!

  36. amy mom of 5

    I quadrupeled this last night for our Girl Scout Awards Ceremony/Dinner and everyone loved it. My father-in-law had at least three bowls of it. The only thing I missed having was shredded cheese and diced red onions on it! I can’t wait to go heat up a bowl of it for lunch. Maybe I’ll go do that right now! Thanks again for another great recipe!

  37. Karl

    Just a note for those who didn’t know… there are two types of oregano: 1) Mediterranean oregano that you find in Italian dishes usually just labeled oregano, 2) MEXICAN oregano.

    Mexican oregano is more appropriate for chili con carne and is a completely different taste than med. oregano. Find some if you can (easy here in the southwest) you will like the difference it makes.

    Also, canned chipotles (in tomato sauce) have a much richer and deeper flavor than chipotle powder. Pull out one whole chili and just toss it in for form great heat and smoky flavor. Or you can carefully split it open and remove the seeds for less heat. For you wimps, you could add a tablespoon of just the tomato sauce from the can to add that smoky flavor.

    My pots on the stove as I type!

  38. Amanda

    Excellent recipe! I made this tonight for my parents and we ate it during halftime of the Superbowl game with fresh cornbread. They really enjoyed it, as did I. The meat was cooked perfectly – tender and delicious. It took me a while to prepare but was well worth it in the end. Next time I’ll make a double batch so we have plenty of leftovers. Thanks Elise!

  39. ah-ha

    I made this in my pressure cooker last night. I followed the recipe through step four, then put the onions, beef, and 1 cup of water in the pressure cooker. I poured two cans of drained, diced tomatoes, sugar and lime juice over the top, but don’t stir in since the tomatoes and sugar might burn. I brought the pot to pressure for 16 minutes, then naturally released for 10 minutes. Added the beans and simmered about 5 more minutes.

  40. Stacey

    Amazing recipe…definitely scratching the old watered down, lack of great spices soup!!

  41. Jack

    Terrific recipe. I reduced instead of thickening, which added to simmering time. My wife won’t eat chili and opted to suffer rather than pass this up.

  42. Jim Evans

    Greetings, Rather than a comment, I have a question. There is a comment at the end of this recipe about adjusting the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice that reads: “Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice you may need a little more sugar to bring the stew to balance.” How do you know when the acidity needs to be balanced? This may seem like a silly question to some of you but I’m not an expert cook and I’ve never given any thought to this.

    Hi Jim – great question! It really is a matter of taste. If you taste it and your mouth sort of puckers, that’s too acidic. If you taste it and it tastes too sweet, it needs more acidity. Acidity will brighten sweet flavors, and adding sugar will mellow out a taste that is too acidic. I would try removing a bit of chile from the pot and putting it in a bowl. Then add a pinch of sugar and see if you like the overall taste better. ~Elise

  43. anna

    I just made this recipe (and paired it with the southern corn bread recipe from the site – yum!). I thought it was mighty delicious but I made a few alterations for my taste…

    I used ground chuck for the meat (already had it in the fridge)
    I reduced the amount of water by a 1/2 cup (I like things thick)
    Used brown sugar instead of white
    Fresh tomatoes instead of canned
    Added about a cup of canned pureed tomatoes (again, to help thicken it)
    2 tbs. of Worcestershire
    1 tbs. of cocoa powder
    Threw in 2 ears worth of cooked corn

    soo good!

  44. Dolly

    I just made this recipe today. I enjoyed making my own chili paste. The flavor combinations added so much to the taste. I will make this again.

  45. susan

    I’m a pretty good cook, but I always make lousy chili. Not any more.
    Thanks Elise. You’re the best! By the way, your Turkey Soup is also terrific.

  46. Sonja Lovas

    Yet another great meal! Wow, can’t find this at any restaurant! My hubby and I were just talking about how we’ve never had a “dud” from your site, and we try 2 or 3 per week. Thanks for the great collection! We added 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes but we like the heat!

  47. cash

    Hi Elise–I love your recipes. This is a great great site. I tried this recipe tonight, but my inner texan (and my wife, the outer texan hehe) required that I omit the beans. other than that, and the fact that I added a serrano and habanero to the 2 jalapenos, I pretty much followed it to a “T” and wow, this can definitely be a contender in the chili cook-off world. Thanks so much. This will be my go-to recipe from now on. Keep it up!

    -cash

    You crack me up! So glad it worked for you. I can see the flames coming out of your ears now. ~Elise

  48. In Chicago

    I’ve made this recipe quite a few times now and my recommendations would be that too little coriander is better than too much. Other than that, I tweak the spices depending on my mood. I salt the cubes of beef pretty well (with kosher sea salt) and also run some black pepper corns through a grinder to dust the beef and get an especially nice crust going. I also double up on the kidney beans.

  49. In Chicago

    Oh, BTW, sometimes I break the tomatoes with my hands and sometimes I pulse them in a blender, which (I think) cuts the cooking time (or at least that’s what I tell myself so I can start eating sooner). And I don’t seed the jalapeños and will occasionally add a (very small) dollop of home made habanero sauce during the cooking process, but only when I want to set my head on fire. (habanero sauce = habaneros+cider vinegar to cover in blender, blend and then simmer until appropriately dangerous looking color and density is achieved.)

  50. Will

    Another winner Elise!!! I did make a couple of adjustments. i used
    1.5 T California chili powder
    1.5 T New Mexico chili powder
    1.5 T Gephardts chili powder
    1 OXO beef stock cube
    28 oz of tomatoes
    1 LB ground pork (along with the cubed beef)

    Thanks for another great recipe!!

  51. Alexandra

    Ooh how I love love love this recipe. I’ve made it tons of times and it has become a good excuse for friends to pop by to see if there is still some chili left of the huge batches I tend to make and freeze. A good adjustment I discovered is replacing the water with beer! A dark high-quality-brew really opens up the flavors. I use Leffe Tripple. A more bitter choice would be Chimay Bleu or a guiness.

    I tend to put cinnamon in it as well, but I’m a sucker for cinammon…

    Also the chipotlé is really hard to come by. (in Holland) I’ve had mexican friends sending me canned chipotlé. Anyone any ideas on where to get chipotlé in west-europe?

    Cheers!
    Alex

  52. Chris B.

    I use this recipe as is. It is my “Go To” Chili Recipe and it has rocked many a gathering.
    Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  53. Jacque H

    My husband made this last night for the first time. It turned out wonderfully! It was the best homemade chili we have ever had, and this recipe is going to make many more appearances at our house.

    Thanks!

  54. Peter

    Love this chili and I couldn’t agree more…Chipotle giives it that somethin’somethin’. I use the San Marcos Chipotle in Adobo sauce cans. I chop one little pepper (plenty of heat) into the mix.

  55. Meagan

    This looks GREAT! I definitely want to try this recipe – all your other chili recipes also look fantastic.

    I do not have any smoked chipotle powder, however, do you think that smoked paprika would work?

    Smoked paprika has the flavor of barbecued potato chips. You could try a pinch, but I wouldn’t overdo it. You could also try canned chipotle in adobo, or liquid smoke. ~Elise

  56. Susan @ SGCC

    This is definitely one for the “Chili Hall of Fame”. I sometimes like to add a few pureed chilis in adobo sauce to mine. I also swirl in about a half a can of refried beans to thicken it. And, if I’m feeling really daring, I’ll toss in a little grated Mexican chocolate and cinnamon too. :D

    Happy New Year, Elise! I hope that your 2010 is filled with lots of exciting and delicious new adventures!

  57. Peter

    I guess I’m a purist, but I would never put tomatoes in chili. As far as I am concerned, that makes it spaghetti sauce. Otherwise this looks just great, but haven’t tried it yet.
    Happy New Year everyone!

  58. Scott

    I recommend some cinnamon and ground coffee in chili. These two ingredients give the chili some great depth and color.

  59. Nellie

    Agreed on a little cinnamon. I also always add chopped-up chipotle and guajillo peppers, and in place of any water or juice from tomatoes I use homemade lamb stock – as odd as that sounds, it gives the chili a wonderful flavor.

  60. Toni

    Elise,

    What would happen if I didn’t make the spices into a paste? Can I just add them to the pot, or is it important to make the paste? Thanks!

    Actually, you add the chili paste to the onions and cook them for a few minutes before adding them to the pot. You don’t need to make a paste, but you might find them easier to cook with the onions if you do, and the flavors will have had more of a chance to blend. ~Elise

  61. Kristen

    As I type, I am eating the leftovers from last night. This chili is awesome. Granted, it’s not the no-brainer easy crockpot ground beef recipe so many of us are used to…it did take a tad bit of work (and a lot of simmer time). Absolutely worth it. I did not have any bacon (quite a faux pas in my house), but it still tuned out fantastic. I used a mix of butter and olive oil to saute the meat and onion, etc. This is the perfect comfort food on a foggy Sacramento day!

  62. Jurie

    I made this chili tonight using ‘only’ 800 or so grams of beef instead of 1100+. It was still WAY too much beef for my taste. My normal chili recipe uses 200g (less than 1/5th of what’s indicated here) of minced meat and 2 cans of kidney beans, not 1.

    Also – are kidney beans different in the US? If I were to add them right at the end as is suggested here, wouldn’t they be near-inedible? I added them 30 minutes before the end and they were al dente – edible, but harder than I like them.

    Obviously chili recipes differ and this one is probably a bit more authentic than mine. On the other hand, this recipe was just unbalanced for my taste, and cooking the beans longer (and adding the liquid from the beans) means there is less need to use a slurry at the end in my experience.

    Still, it was nourishing and didn’t taste bad :). And it was fun to try a different recipe; it gives me some ideas to tweak my own.

    Canned kidney beans are already cooked. At least the ones we by here in the states. You can make salads with them, right out of the can, no additional cooking needed. ~Elise

  63. Erica

    That chili sounds wonderful!!!!! I made chili con carne a couple of weeks ago and I used flank steak. It was fantastic!!! Here is the recipe if you want to try it.
    http://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/2009/12/beef-chili-chili-con-carne.html

  64. Smiley

    All these recipes look good….but…I hate to think of myself as a snob, but dry beans are the way to go.

    Soak beans overnight in water. Rinse and drain, place in pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Simmer on low 1 – 2 hours until tender. Proceed with any of the above yummy recipes.

    Dry beans are less processed so they are probably a greener choice, and they are not full of salt as are the canned varieties.

    I will step down off my soap box now….

  65. Pam

    For any chile using oregano, use Mexican oregano. It has a great different flavor. Another great ingredient is adding Smoked Paprika. Both add dimensions of flavor. I use Hatch New Mexico ground chile powder. It has no other ingredients in it unlike all the Tex-Mex seasonings. It is superior.

  66. Elle Hyson

    Elise, this recipe sounds terrific and the comments make it even more enticing but I have an important question – my husband and I are in our late 80s and really hot and spicy is not on our agendas – just how hot is this dish?

    And to all those whose input I read, thanks for the various suggestions – it is a long, cold winer here in North Carolina and I’m trying for dishes to warm up the soul as well as the body.

    Spiciness is so relative, it’s hard for me to gauge for you. I would suggest cutting back severely (maybe only use a quarter of what is recommended) on the chile powder, chipotle, cumin, and the jalapeno, and just adding enough at the end to give it the kick you want. ~Elise

  67. Gail

    Made this yesterday and had it today. It really is better the next day. Great chili recipe! Thanks so much. Was getting tired of mine and have been looking for something different for a while. This will be a keeper – everyone in family loved it as well. Even my 22 yr. old son who can’t stand much heat. Only change I made was to substitute beer for water. Love all your recipes I’ve tried so far, esp. the tomato pie. I can’t tell you how many people have asked for the recipe, esp. men! Keep them coming!

  68. Matthew Hyner

    I make this two days ago more or less…skipped the bacon and had some dried ancho’s I blended with the chili paste as I couldn’t find the chipolte powder and had them in the cabinet. Ohhhh man, this was really good. :)

  69. Kathy

    We made this for the first time a couple of foggy weeks ago as a winter warm-up. Now that we have a solid week of rain ahead of us, we’re stirring up another pot (with the addition of some fire-roasted Hatch chili peppers from the freezer).

  70. Roy (Munchies Blog)

    Tried it yesterday. It was EXCELLENT! A really good recipe. Thank you.

  71. Barbi

    I made this last week and I think there was to much acidity for our liking. I added sugar at the end but couldn’t get quite the right balance. I think next time I will omit the lime juice all together. We didn’t care for the acidity in the chili. This will be fun to make again and customize to our taste. Thanks for the inspiration Elise!

  72. Jeremy

    Hey Elise — just for comparison’s sake, here’s one I saw over at Serious Eats — http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/01/the-best-chili-recipe.html . Made it last night and although it took forever, the ‘extras’ — chocolate, anchovies, marmite (!?), coffee — gave it a really outstanding deep flavor. I might try some of those additions to your more manageable recipe.

  73. ron

    great recipe. Made it per instructions the first time… loved it. Second time I subsituted Ale for water. It added another level!

    thanks

  74. Jakt

    Great recipe! It all started with some tomatoes I had to get rid of and after an hour of browsing this was the dish I went for. I used moose meat, went easy on chili (because of the kids) and added a bit of Worcestershire sauce.

    I’m chili lover myself but never cooked it before – I somehow assumed it requires some well buried secrets & several failed attempts – like BBQ ribs, but no, it was by far best Chili I’ve ever tasted. Chili is not common food in this corner of the world, but believe me, my friends and family will get their share of this recipe in the coming months!

  75. Donald Giller

    I’m new to the website and look forward to using it often. I like making chili very much and was browsing the recipe…looks good…I’m from Texas, so NO beans allowed. I use peanut butter for a thickener and find it has a wonderful subtle flavor. I also ‘float’ 2 or 3 jalapeno peppers on top while cooking and remove them when they begin to crack open.

    I’m impressed with the quality of this website and its contents.

    Thanks Donald! Interesting idea on the peanut butter, I’ve not heard of that one. I know some people add chocolate to their chili. Wonder what would happen if you added peanut butter AND chocolate? Hmm… ~Elise

  76. Erin M.

    Made this tonight for a Laker game and it was delicious! I had to add a bit more water and spices, including an additional tablespoon of garlic powder. I added the kidney beans during the last half hour of cooking which seemed to flavor them nicely. I also used canned chipotle in adobo instead of chipotle chile powder. This is really good, especially with a big dollop of sour cream!

  77. Angie W.

    I made this chili with 4 changes: 1) I mixed flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a paper bag. I then added the cubed chuck and shook the bag until coated; 2) I used a local dark beer (Bully Porter from KC’s own Boulevard Brewery – YUM!) instead of water; 3) I used a poblano pepper instead of a jalapeno; and 4) I used ancho chili powder instead of chipotle chili powder.

    After the meat was coated in flour and seasoning I browned it in batches just as the recipe suggested. I found that this extra step in the beginning gave the chili the perfect thickness without having to add any cornstarch later.

    The beer was a given. I used a very dark, chocolaty beer. It gave the chili a hearty, complex flavor.

    I chose to use a poblano pepper instead of a jalapeno. I prefer the slow heat and flavor of this pepper.

    As for the ancho chili powder, I chose it because of it’s super dark color and deep, complex flavor (think spicy raisins). I think it made a big difference.

    This recipe was a football sunday success! Thanks!

  78. Karla M

    This is by far my favorite recipe! I will make a double batch next time because it went so fast!

  79. Sara

    Help!

    I’m making this for a party and I just realized that one batch isn’t big enough for the crock pot (instructions say it needs to be filled at least 1/2 way and I’m at about 1/4).

    Can I stretch the chili with more of something? I don’t have more beef but I do have the other ingredients… Any ideas??

    Thanks,
    Sara

    Hi Sara, I recommend heating the ingredients first, so they go in the crockpot already hot, and then adding some water or some more tomatoes. Then just make sure it is tightly covered and you are cooking on the lowest setting. ~Elise

  80. Tracy Bernson, Esquire

    Can this be cooked in a crockpot? Can you tell me how you would change the recipe so I don’t mess with the integrity of what you intended?

    Hi Tracy, I haven’t cooked this in a slow cooker, so your guess is as good as mine. If I were to do so, I would do all the steps 1-5 and then put the mixture in a slow cooker and go from there. ~Elise

  81. Laurie Hildebrandt

    Happy New Year!
    Although I have made chili con carne many times, I thought I would follow your version for my New Year’s Eve party. I have never missed impressing my friends and family when cooking from your recipes. And, once again, I found success and adulation through your chili. I doubled the ingredients (except for the beef where I used just 3 pounds). The pot was scraped clean! That was the only downside: no leftovers for New Year’s Day!! Thank you so much. I have been consulting your web page for nearly two years. I’m a fan! Laurie

  82. Scott S

    This was terrific! I used fire-roasted tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes, but otherwise I stuck to it and it is my new favorite chili recipe!

  83. jessica

    This is my mom’s recipe for chili and it is great. It kind of tastes like Wendy’s, but more spicy. She makes a huge pot, but for my husband and I this recipe is the small version.
    1 lb of ground meat(turkey, beef, pork or combo)
    1 can mild ortega chilies
    1 can chili verde sauce
    1 large can whole tomatoes(break up with hands)
    2-3 stalks chopped celery
    2 cloves chopped garlic
    1 chopped bell pepper
    1 can kidney beans
    1/2 beer
    1 and 1/2 chili seasoning packs(to taste)
    2 pinches of cumin
    Brown meat, drain fat. Sautee veggies. Add back meat and remaining ingredients. Cook until desired consistantcy and flavor. So easy and good!

  84. Mary Morris

    Here’s a good one published over a year ago in the Food & Wine section of the Contra Costa Times: (It has always been a hit for me)

    Black Bean Chile

    1 lb lean hamburger
    2 T peanut oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 T hot Chili powder
    2 t ground cumin
    1 T Worchestershire sauce
    1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    3 14.5-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 small can of Chipotle Chile Adobo
    Cilantro

    Using a medium to large stewpot, brown meat, peanut oil, onion & spices until onion is soft. Add the garlic and stir for about 20 seconds. Add the Worchestershire sauce, tomatoes, bell pepper & the beans. Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Using a food processor, puree the chipotle chilis and add to taste. Garnish with the Cilantro.
    I’m sure you can substitute beef brisket, or ground turkey and dried black beans instead of the canned ones, just not sure how it would translate, canned vs. dried. Is there a formula out there?

  85. Karen

    Good recipe! I changed it up a bit. I used dark beer for 3/4 of the liquid, doubled the spices and used ground beef and ground turkey. I simmered for about 2 hours. It definetly needed more spices at the end of the simmering time. Made for superbowl and everyone loved it. Thank you for the recipe and the great website.

  86. Maddy

    Can I make this ahead of time (on Friday) and put in the fridge to serve in a few days (Sunday)? Thanks!

    Yes. ~Elise

  87. Dan DeLapp

    Elise,

    I cooked this chile for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a huge hit with the entire crowd. I have never cooked chile before so this was the recipe I selected from hundreds I found on the internet. I’ve made it a couple of times since with a couple of modifications: I used 2 cups of beef stock along with the 1/2 cup of water and I substituted serrano chiles for the jalapenos – a bit more heat. Again, it got rave reviews. Thanks and I hope to try more of your recipes!

  88. Kimi

    I just came across this site for the first time, I was looking for a chili recipe that uses fresh tomatoes because I hate the can taste from canned ones. This recipe looks delicious, but do you think using fresh tomatoes over the canned will make a difference? I can’t find many delicious looking chili recipes that use fresh ones. Thanks!

    Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes, but I would use only tomatoes in season, which in the US is July through September. The hot house tomatoes you get the rest of the year just aren’t going to be as good as the canned, which are picked at the height of the season. If you use fresh tomatoes, score them and blanch them for a minute in boiling water first, then remove from boiling water, and peel them. ~Elise

  89. Lorz

    Hi Guys, Does anyone have a copy of the chilli con carne recipe that was printed on the side of the tabasco sauce original box that the bottle comes in. We had it about 20 years ago and we have lost it, when we emigrated, from what we recall, it had tabasco and worcester sauce, beef, onion, cayenne, garlic,veg oil, red kidney beans chilli powder sale and pepper, if anyone has it can I get it please.

    My husband is trying to re-create it.

    Thanks Lorz

  90. Carmen

    Elise,

    I was wondering if you can suggest what changes in the steps and the cooking time would be if the recipe were cooked using a crockpot instead of the stovetop?

    Hi Carmen, I haven’t yet made this recipe in a slow cooker, so your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  91. jeni

    Oh man, that looks amazing!

    My favourite chili comes from Chili My Soul, a restaurant down in the San Fernando Valley. I like almost all their chili varieties, but the best is their habanero ango chicken chili. Spicy, sweet, incredible.

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