Chili con Carne

I’ve made a few different Chris Kimball recipes for Chili con Carne (see here, and here) , but they have seemed too fussy. One batch of Chris Kimball’s Chili cost an astonishing $26. Plus none has measured up to my simple, old, ground beef Chili.  So while there are still at least two more recipes that I want to try (see here, and here), today I wanted to make my old standby Chili for the first time in more than a year. Results: 4-1/2 stars, and there are leftovers for 1 or 2 more nights.

Simple and delicious Chili con Carne

In my opinion Chili should be simple to make, but cannot be rushed. It takes time for the flavors to develop and blend. Fortunately, mostly its unattended cooking time. Make sure that the beans have at least 12 hours to soak; or you can substitute a 29-oz can of beans for each type of dried beans.  If you are making for guest then make it a day or up to five days in advance and reheat before serving. If making for yourself, eat it the first night and then heat the leftovers for dinner the following nights.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $8 for 12 servings.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium
Start time 3:30 PM. Dinner time 7:00 PM.

Eventually I would like to try Chris Kimball’s Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans, but here is how I cooked my Chili today according to my own recipe.

1/2-pound dried kidney beans (or 29-oz can)
1/2-pound dried pinto beans (or 29-oz can)
2 pounds 85% ground chuck.
2 teaspoons cumin powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper.
2 medium onions, diced.
1 bell pepper, red preferred, diced.
2 Jalapeno or Serrano chilies, diced.
2 teaspoons salt
29-oz can tomato sauce
3 Tomatoes, diced. (or can of diced tomatoes)
1-1/2 cups water
If available: 1 celery stalk, diced.

  1. For best results, soak 1/2-pound of dried kidney beans and 1/2-pound of dried pinto beans overnight. Use 1-1/2 tablespoons salt  for a 1/2-gallon of water.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, breaking beef into pea-size pieces; drain off any excess fat (if using less than 85% beef). Add the spices to the skillet; 2 teaspoons cumin powder, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper; and mix and cook the spices together with the meat for 1 minute.
  3. Drain and rinse beans, and add to a large pot (still turned off). Add beef to the large pot, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  4. Add diced onions, bell pepper, chili peppers, and 2 teaspoons salt to skillet, saute for 5 minutes until slightly softened.
  5. Add sauteed vegetables to large pot. Add diced tomatoes, 1-1/2 cups water, and optional celery; bring everything to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook covered, stirring every 15 minutes, for the first hour. Continue to cook uncovered for 2 more hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, guacamole, julienne-fried flour tortilla, lime wedges, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, and chopped cilantro leaves.
  7. Makes between 10 to 12 servings. Active preparation is about 30 minutes. But should start 3 to 3-1/2 hours before serving.

2 Responses to Chili con Carne

  1. Foodiewife says:

    I’ve made this chili a few times, and it’s really REALLY good! I like how the spices are bloomed. The only think I don’t do is to add kidney beans. Being half Latina, it was just unheard of in my Mexican family. I go with all pinto beans. Either way, I was planning on making this tomorrow. Your bowl of chili con carne looks amazing.

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