Chili recipes approach the level of religious devotion, so with some trepidation, here is my recipe. It’s got a relatively mild, but satisfying heat to it. I make enough for four people, plus leftovers so we can have some throughout the week, but you can scale it up or down as needed. This recipe should fill up most of an 8 quart pot.
(I used a stock image of a kitchen we had, rather than a picture of the chili, because I don’t think chili translates too well to photographs).
Ground beef, 2.5 to 3 pounds
Onion, white or Vidalia/sweet (1)
Onion, yellow (4)
Onion, green (a bundle)
Pepper, red chili (2)
Pepper, jalapeno (1)
Garlic, diced or pressed (2 or 3 tablespoons worth)
Large skillet (to brown the beef and then to sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic)
Large pot (8 quarts, to contain the chili and simmer)
Cutting Board – Prepare the onions by peeling them and then dicing them. Core the peppers by removing the seeds; dice the peppers as small as you can get them. If you’re pressing garlic gloves, do that now; if you’re using canned diced garlic, then get it ready. Drain the liquid from the canned beans.
Pot – In a large pot, place a thin coating of olive oil on the inside bottom and simmer.
Skillet – In a large skillet, place a thin coating of olive oil and simmer.
Step 1 – In the pot, pour in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir. Pour the beans into the pot. Stir. The pot is where you’ll ultimately put everything. Keep it on low to low-medium heat as you add ingredients.
Step 2 – In the skillet, brown the ground beef on medium-high heat until it is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder – not too much, because you’ll be adding the packet of chili seasoning to the pot later.
Step 3 – Once cooked, empty the ground beef into the pot and stir.
Step 4 – In the skillet, sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic. The object is to get the onions soft and translucent. Here’s my recommended order of adding these ingredients to the skillet: white onion, yellow onions, peppers, garlic, green onions. Sprinkle with salt as you are sautéing.
Step 5 – Once the onions are translucent, empty the skillet into the pot and stir. You’re done with the skillet now.
Step 6 – Add the packet of chili seasoning to the pot and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste; you can also add some additional chili powder, if needed.
Step 7 – Turn the heat on the skillet to low, if it wasn’t already. Allow to simmer in the pot for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. At first, the chili will look very thick, but as you cook it water will be released from the ingredients. If you need to make it thinner later, you can always add some more tomato sauce; you can add corn starch to make it thicker. I normally don’t do anything to alter it when I make it, though.
Serve in bowls. You can also serve it on top of a baked potato.