A few years ago I decided to make my first ever batch of chili, which was kind of a big deal for me. I had never really been a huge chili person. I would always eat some if it was around (if my husband made it, or at the chili party our friends host every year), but I never liked it enough to want to make a batch myself. But I thought I should really try, so I gave it some thought, took to the kitchen, and wrote down exactly what I used and what I did. Beginner’s luck worked in my favor, and this recipe was born. I may not be a chili expert, but I still think this is pretty good.
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 large (or 2 small) onions, largely diced
½ green pepper, largely diced
2-3 T roasted and peeled hot chile peppers (or canned Hatch green chiles)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 t minced)
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (or one 26 oz box)
1-2 15 oz cans tomato sauce (start with one can, add the other later if needed)
1 small can tomato paste
1 C diced fresh tomatoes (optional)
1 C beef broth
1 T Penzey’s 9000 chili powder
2 t regular chili powder
2 t Kosher salt
½ t ground cumin
¼ t smoked Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
2 bay leaves
3 shakes cayenne pepper
1-2 cans kidney (or other canned) beans, rinsed very well and drained
In a large pan or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef. Add the onion, green pepper, green chiles and garlic, and sauté until softened. Mix together the remaining ingredients (except for the canned beans) in a separate bowl, then add to the beef mixture. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat setting 8-10 hours. About an hour or so before serving, rinse the beans well and drain, and add them to the chili. Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
Step by Step Details
As always, the higher quality (and fresher) ingredients you use, the better things will taste. For taste and health reasons, I always use grass-fed beef. I use my own hot chiles, too, that I roast and then freeze, but any canned chiles will work. I especially like New Mexico Hatch green chiles from Trader Joe’s.
For the spices, it’s really worth getting some of this Penzey’s 9000. It’s an amazing blend of flavors and spices that I would never have thought of using, and I could never recreate these flavors on my own. If you don’t have any of this, just use the same amount of regular chili powder, but be sure to put it on your shopping list.
In a large pan or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef.
While the meat is browning, chop the things that need chopping. Size is not that important.
When the meat is browned, add these chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until softened.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together (except for the beans) in a separate bowl and stir to combine.
Add this to the beef mixture once the vegetables are softened.
Cover and simmer on the lowest heat setting at least 5-6 hours, or better, up to 8-10 hours. (You could probably cook it, covered, on low in a crock pot for the same amount of time.)
About an hour or so before serving, open the cans of beans. I had these on hand, but any canned beans would work.
Rinse them very well and drain, then add them to the chili.
Taste the chili, and if it needs more tomato sauce, add the second can. Cover and cook for another hour or so.
Remove the bay leaves prior to serving. Enjoy!