Chili Con Carne

This is the best chili recipe. It has lots of meat and a touch of smoky heat. It’s an uncomplicated, basic chili that everyone loves.

This is the best chili recipe. It has lots of meat and a touch of smoky heat. It's an uncomplicated, basic chili that everyone loves.

Chili is controversial. Should it have beans in it? Should it have tomato in it? Should it be spicy? How much meat? What kind of meat? Ground meat or chunks? So many questions and I know many of you have opinions too. Feel free to give your opinion on what should and shouldn’t be in chili below.

Today I’m sharing my best chili recipe with you, which I suppose will let you know my opinion about what chili should be. Everyone I’ve ever made it for has loved it. It’s very basic and not very complicated, which means that you can whip it up easily with minimal ingredients or go ahead and add other things to it in whatever way you’d like. Chili is, after all, one of those things that takes kindly to whatever savory items you happen to have in your fridge or pantry (leftover cooked carrots? A stray half of a bell pepper? A can of pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving? Even some chocolate or coffee can go in there!).

The below recipe is not super spicy. It gets its heat mostly from chipotles packed in adobo sauce. Have you had these? They’re so good. The reason they’re so good is that they’re smoked. You get the heat of the pepper plus a nice smoky flavor. The adobo sauce itself is made out of chili powder and it has vinegar in it, so you get extra heat there and some nice acidity too.

Other than that, there’s a lot of meat in this chili (thus the “con carne” with meat in the recipe title) and some canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder and chopped sauteed onion.

The recipe below has kidney beans as optional. However, I will tell you this. Last time that I made this recipe was without beans and it was for me and a friend to have for lunch. I knew there would be plenty of leftovers for me and the kids to have for dinner that night (and the next day), but I was worried that it would be too spicy for them (even though, as mentioned, it isn’t a very spicy chili. It would still be spicy for them). So after we had ours for lunch, I added an additional can of tomato sauce and two (15.5 oz) cans of drained kidney beans. Those added ingredients really cut the heat down and my kids loved it.┬áIf you want to add beans, add beans. If you want it less spicy, add more tomato sauce. It’s a pretty customizable recipe, really.

My promise: If you make it just the way it’s written, you’ll get a nice meaty chili with a touch of smoky heat and lots of that quintessential chili flavor that everyone loves.

One last thing: If you’re stuck for time and want to make chili, I have a super-fast chili recipe over here that would be just the thing.

Enjoy!

Christine xo

Chili Con Carne

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or grape seed oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (I use ground chuck)
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 and 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 chipotle chilies that were canned in adobo sauce (that is, open one can and take out two chilies), minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans, drained (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to serve (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat ot medium-high. Add the ground beef, pork and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Drain off fat.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotles, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  6. Stir in beans if using. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  7. Scoop into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired.
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