On a cold winter day, is there anything more beautiful and tasty than a spicy bowl of homemade chili? This Classic Chili Con Carne is one of our favorite recipes for “chili” weather! Incredibly flavorful, packed with protein and perfectly hearty, saucy and spicy. Cooking it in a slow cooker is my favorite way to make this classic – the flavor is rich and robust, the meat stays tender, and you can customize with your favorite chili beans. Served with sour cream, chopped onion, shredded cheese and homemade Corn Muffins, this is a cold weather dinner everyone can agree on!
Everyone has their favorite recipe - beef or turkey, or even vegan. This one works either way! Fresh onions and celery, a generous dose of spices, and we are on our way. I use layers of tomato flavor - tomato sauce, diced tiny tomatoes and tomato paste or puree. Beans - pick your favorite! Light kidney beans, dark kidney beans, chili beans, or my favorite - a combo of all three!
WHAT INGREDIENTS GO INTO CLASSIC CHILI?
DON'T SPILL THE BEANS...
Leave out the beans? Au contraire! They add so much flavor and texture! Whatever you do, don't leave them out!
One of my good friends, a verified bean-hater, proudly proclaims that her father ALWAYS made the best chili WITHOUT beans - but he spilled the beans and told me on the side that he always chops them up in a blender and adds them when she isn't looking. Don't you love the way that we sometimes hide ingredients from our kids - no matter how old they might be?
This is our favorite recipe, hands down. Spoon it into a bowl and serve with shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican, colby-jack or pepper cheese), and set some bowls out with sour cream, chopped onion and everyone can design their own favorite.
A side of fresh warm corn bread or corn muffins, Frito Corn Chips or saltine crackers, and you have a crowd-pleasing favorite!
2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1 cup celery (sliced)
1 cup sweet red pepper (cored and diced)(optional)
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
½ cup beef stock or broth
1 (12 oz.) can water
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon basil
2 Tablespoons sugar
pepper & salt (to taste)
1 can light kidney/chili beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can dark kidney/chili beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can chili beans (rinsed and drained)
Shredded Cheese (Mexican Blend or Cheddar)
Red or Green Onions (chopped)
Green Chilis (chopped)
Fritos or Saltine Crackers
HOW I MAKE THIS:
YIELD: 8 servings
TO PREPARE ON STOVETOP: Cover and simmer in large Dutch oven for 1 hour or longer. 10 minutes before serving, add rinsed and drained beans and chili beans and cook until heated thru. Serve warm with desired toppings.
FOR SPICIER CHILI, add one small can of diced green chilies, or substitute diced tomatoes with green chilies.
FOR THICKER CHILI, you can omit the beef broth. For a thinner chili, add an extra cup of beef stock or broth.
Originally posted January 2014; revised and reposted January 2020.
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