When It Gets Chilly, I Crave Chili

The minute it starts to get cool in the fall, I’m ready to make Chili. There’s something so awesome about it’s meaty, spicy, tomato-y goodness that’s instantly warming and exciting.

This recipe is adapted from my mother & her mother. There are many ways to make Chili, but this one lives in my heart.


I make this in big batches, and freeze at least half of it for later on, when I don’t feel like cooking, but still want something homemade. Feel free to cut this recipe in half, if you want a smaller batch, or double it for a crowd.

2 lbs Grass-Fed Ground Beef

1 large yellow, white or Vidalia Onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups mixed Peppers, chopped (I used Cubanelle, Red and Yellow bell peppers, Korean long pepper and a little Serrano. I also like Poblanos, and of course just regular ol’ green peppers work, too.)

4-6 cloves Garlic, chopped

2-3 cans, or 5-6 fresh, chopped Tomatoes (I used 1 28-oz can, and 1 14.5 oz can)

2 cans, or 2-3 cups of Beans of your choice (I used 1 can black beans + 1 can ranchero beans. Dark kidney, pinto,  or cannellini beans all work well, too)

2 Tbs Paprika (hot, mild or sweet)

3 Tbs ground Cumin

3 Tbs Ancho chili powder, dried Chipotle peppers, or 1-2 chopped Chipotles

1 bunch Cilantro

Salt & Pepper

Water or Chicken Broth

Sour Cream, for serving


1. Turn burner on high. Add ground beef and chopped onion, peppers & garlic. If your beef is fairly lean, you may need to add some olive oil or butter to brown everything without it sticking to the pan.

2. Add dry spices: Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt & Pepper.

3. Use a wooden or metal spatula with a straight edge to break up the ground beef, and stir all of your ingredients together.

4. Continue to sauté this mixture until the beef is totally browned, and the peppers and onions are softened.

5. Add your beans and tomatoes.

6. Give it a stir and check that the ratio of beans to meat to tomatoes is what you like. After stirring everything together, I realized that it didn’t have enough tomatoes for me, so I added a 2nd smaller can of tomatoes.

7. Add enough water or broth to cover all of the ingredients by a few inches. Cover the pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes. I use my tomato can to measure the same amount of water, and it always works out perfect. (ex: 2 cans of tomatoes, use 2 cans full of water, etc.)

8. After simmering for 20-30 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Taste your Chili, but remember it will be really hot! Adjust the seasonings by adding more spices, salt & pepper, if needed. Chop 1/2-1 bundle of Cilantro and add it to the pot, stirring thoroughly.

9. Serve with Sour Cream, chopped Cilantro and fresh Serrano or Jalapeño chilies for everyone to garnish as they wish.

This will taste even better if you cook it a day ahead of time, and refrigerate it overnight, giving the flavors time to meld. Though….no one can resist a bowl of Chili right when it’s finished. You should have some right now, too!

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