Chili is truly a permanent staple in our home, and although I prefer to make it during the fall, this recipe can carry you through summer barbecues to cozy Autumnal weekends, family gatherings, and so on. The sour cream keeps it cool during warmer weather, scallions offer a bite of freshness and the warmth of flavor makes me melt into the couch every single time. My recipe is a marriage between my mother and my grandmother’s recipe, tweaked to me and my husband’s personal preference.
My recipe is pretty simple – one type of meat, one type of beans, and no addition of vegetables – and that is just how I like it. Maybe I’m a purist, but chili shouldn’t be fussy or overthought. I’m mostly concerned with the flavors and letting this develop over a long period of time.
I only have one secret ingredient that I have not seen any other chili recipe use (or at least I have not seen it!) – BEER. Add one can of light beer right in the beginning. I use this instead of beef stock, and instead add beef bouillon for the added beefy flavor.
Even though this is my favorite way to make chili, remember that everyone has different tastes, tolerance for spice, and even appliances that act differently in each home. So as it is for any recipe, feel free to take this and shape it into your very own.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes (between 4-6, depending on how many you are serving; i.e. 6 cans lasts for two days among two people)
- 2 packs, Ground Beef (approx. .76kg)
- 2 cans of red kidney beans
- 1 Light Beer
- Beef Bouillon (cube or powder) – or beef stock in lieu of beer
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 2-6 cloves of Garlic, per taste
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Salt + Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Parsely (fresh or dried)
- Bay leaf, optional
- Dried Poblano Pepper Powder, optional
- Pinch of Cacao, optional
- Toppings, optional: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh scallions
Note: If you opt to not use beer, use beef stock instead. When using beef stock, do not add the bouillon. You get the idea.
- Finely chop one yellow onion
- Finely chop 2-6 garlic cloves (more or less based on preference)
- Shred Cheddar Cheese
- Slice scallions into thin rounds
- Turn heat on (High on the crockpot, medium-high on a stovetop).
- Add canned tomatoes to the pot.
- Heat a large pan. Add oil once heated.
- Add onions to the pan and saute until softened or slightly browned (your preference). Add garlic and continue to saute until aromatic. Don’t brown the garlic. Remove garlic and onions, adding them to the pot and stir in.
- Add ground beef to pan and brown, adding salt and pepper. Once browned, add to the pot. Either remove fat and juices or cook chili with the fat and later skim from the top.
- Pour in one .3l light beer (or pour one .5l beer, reserving .2l for your own enjoyment), or the beef stock.
- Add one cube beef bouillion or about one tablespoon of powdered bouillon, if not using stock.
- Add all seasonings: this is entirely to taste. Begin by adding a few dashes of each and taste as the flavor develops over time. For reference, I begin with the following: 5-6 shakes of garlic/onion/cayenne/pepper, 3 tsp. of paprika, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of cacao… And in the end, I always go back to add more spices and salt.
- Give it a good stir. Simmer on low on the stovetop or cook on high in the crockpot. I allow the chili to cook for SIX HOURS before serving for maximum flavor.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh scallions, and a sprinkle of cheddar, and a side of cornbread or a fresh roll to sop up the remaining sauce.
Make it budget-friendly!
Chili is a pretty malleable meal so it is easy to be budget-friendly by using just the herbs & spices you have available (i.e. playing up fresh garlic, adding more spice in lieu of whatever you don’t have handy), using ground turkey or pork, or making it vegetarian (just add more beans/vegetables), as an example. The cost of the predominant (or least likely to be in your pantry) ingredients of chili is as following (based on the prices at Billa, which I would say are comparable to Shoprite prices in the USA).
- Canned tomatoes (.60 x 4-6 = €2.40-€3.60)
- Ground Beef (€3-4.99 = €8.00-10.00)
- Red Kidney Beans (.49-x 2 = €1.00)
- Worcestershire Sauce (€1.89)
- Light Beer (€.60 – based on .5l Ottakringer beer)