Home Cooking - Your Cookin Chili Tonight...

Joined Dec 20, 2008
Another Home Cooking thread, this time since it is cold and windy, we are cooking some type of beef Chili.

Again no special trips to the store (except y our choice of meat), your using what you have in your pantry, 30 minutes prep, and cooking can go as long as necessary.
Joined Dec 20, 2008
WoW, no one likes this thread? Hmmm maybe because it is something that is pretty specific, wanting a real recipe rather than ideas.

Ok to kick it off I will share a recipe I am working on. It is rather long.... I just made it last night but I think I over seasoned and the tastes just didn't quite hit the mark. Some are going to disagree with a couple of the ingredients.

This is a rough recipe, I made this up from scratch and it tasted pretty good so two days later tried to rem all I did. I have made it 3 or 4 times since and it seems to still work.

2 lbs stew beef chopped into 1" cubes trim any excessive fat off.
2 lbs hamburger
2 c chopped onions (I used 3 med )
3 stalks fine chopped carrots
4-5 stalks fine chopped celery
1/3 c chopped garlic (I actually used more)
1 - fine chopped bell pepper
1-2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp kosher salt
1-2 c red wine
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp Mexican or taco seasoning
2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
2 tbsp Worcestershire
2 15 oz crushed or diced stewed tomatoes
1 15 oz tomato sauce Optional if you need more liquid
1 6oz tomato paste
1 tbsp italian seasoning
2 cups beef stock, or hot water flavored with beef base.
6 tbsp of olive
cornstarch to thicken

1. Use a food processor and grind the carrots/celery, to rough grind, fine chop the green pepper, mince garlic. Chop stew beef pieces into 1" pieces.

2. you will need two pots, one for stew beef and one for ground beef, split the olive oil and heat, throw into each pot a little garlic and little onion to season the oil add the meat before garlic starts turning color, stew beef in one pot, ground beef in other pot.
Season both pots with about 2 tsp each Montreal Steak Seasoning, and 2 tsp ea. Chili seasoning, ( reserve rest of steak & chili season for later), cook meat until brown.
Drain about 85% of fat from ground beef, about 75% from stew beef.

3. add 1/4 wine to ground beef, 3/4 to stew beef. **** Only 50 % of the wine though
cook on low temp until the ground beef mixture is looking dryish, then add remaining wine and go to step 4. Cook stew beef with the 50% wine + use 50% of tomato paste until it looks like a thick gravy and meat, then add remaining wine and go to step 4.
** You will have to stir this every couple of minutes to keep from sticking to bottom of pots.

4. Add 3/4 of celery, onion, carrots, green pepper to ground beef, the remaining 1/4 to stew beef. Add both crushed tomatoes cans to ground beef and remaining 1/2 tomato paste.

6. add the remaining seasonings 3/4 to ground beef, 1/4 to stew beef. 50/50 Worcestershire ground/stew.

7. add enough beef stock to cover ground beef & stew beef plus 1/2" (still in separate pots). Continue to slow cook and stir both pots for about 1 to 1.5 hours until stew beef is starting to get fairly tender, and liquid in stew beef has turned into thickish gravy. The temp of the ground beef should be a little higher to cook the veggies until they are starting to break down, and liquid should be cooked down a spagetti meat sauce texture.

Note, you may have to add more beef stock or wine to each pot, but this has to cook for about 1-1.5 hours.

8. When stew beef is tender combine the ground beef mixture into the stew beef mixture. Cook for approx 40-60 min more reducing liquid to a chili like consistency, if necessary use cornstarch to thick.

Ok here is the idea for the two pots. The ground beef is suppose to be sort of Meat Sofrito base for the chili, the stew beef pot even though a little of the carrots/celery/onions are added for a bit of flavor, we want this to still taste beefy when you bite into the stew beef chunk. Also as the stew beef cooks little shreds of meat part from each chunck and when combined with ground beef the base is nice and meaty.

You can adjust the seasoning to taste. Here is what is left from about 3 qts I made last night for family of 5, we had for lunch today too...
Joined Jul 3, 2009
deltadude....that looks like some delicious, down home, cozy, comfort food. It looks hearty and thick. Is there cheese in there? None in your list but looks as if you added it at the end. That looks like would be good tossed with some penne or rigatoni.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
* Exported from MasterCook *


Recipe By :Mary Brown
Serving Size : 16 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Main Dish

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 pounds beef chuck -- chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
45 ounces beef stock
8 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounces diced tomato
1 tablespoon salt
1 medium onion -- coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons bacon grease
4 tablespoons chili powder -- mild
3 tablespoons chili powder; hot -- hot, I use my own blend. To taste, might try 1 tablespoon to start
2 cloves garlic -- chopped fine

Fry meat seasoned with the salt in the bacon grease until browned. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.

Add 3 cans of beef stock(I use 12 ounces of beer and less stock) and simmer for 1 hour or until meat starts to get tender. Use enough stock to cover the meat but not make it soupy. Homemade is always best.

Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and the mild chili powder. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the hot chili powder, simmer another 30 to 45 minutes.

You can thicken with a corn flour water(or beer) slurry.

Serve with crackers, sour cream and cheese if desired.

Beans are optional, drain and add during the last 10 minutes of the cook.

"not to hot but it will make you sweat"
Joined Feb 13, 2008
I like to include leftover, smoked or grilled meat in my chilis and curries. Nothing like a little char. Other than the size of the pieces of the meat -- which are similar to Mary's -- mine is pretty more regulation chili colorado than it is Texas or (God forbid) Cincinnati.

I understand they have people in the midwest who put [shudder] beans in the chili. Okay, you can if you want to -- and if you promise not to tell anyone, I'll admit that I sometimes like it -- but I never make it that way. The rules for California Chili are a lot like Texas. No chunks of tomato, no beans.

Actually, beans is probably one of the two or three greatest divides when it comes to chili -- do you think beans belong in? Along side? In another county? Where do you stand on this burning issue?

Me? I love beans. Not "chili beans" though, and not "chili con carne" with beans either. I'll take a side of frijoles de la olla, or refritos though. Por favor.

On the other hand, the midwest custom of serving chili on spaghetti, is, I think, pretty darn cool.

One of the keys to making a good chili is to make sure you cook the dry and powdered spices before adding the liquid -- just like you would for any good masala.

Joined Dec 20, 2008
Thanks it is hearty and thickish. No cheese the light colored stuff is either a piece of onion or a small chunk of carrot that didn't get ground.

I'm like you I prefer good thickish chili without beans, however I don't mind beans occasionally. If I make chile for 5 people enough for 2nds and some the next day, and low on the necessary meat, beans get to serve duty.

Normally first serving here is with steamed rice, and either some corn bread or crackers on the side. If there is enough left over for a 2nd meal, then I like to thin the chili out a bit and throw on some pasta.

"Light goes off", cooking the spices before adding the liquid I saw that on a cooking show that featured chili. So to be sure, you are talking about in a clean pot to put the spices in with nothing and cook for a minute or two until they good and warm and start giving up flavor. Or are you refering to adding the spices at the end of the browning meat cycle and cooking down the meat & spices before more liquid goes in?
Joined Feb 26, 2007
I'll jump in here....spices in clean pan at start of the cooking with clean oil, just until they become fragrant. Then continue. Onions, veg etc. Personally I like to do the spices and veg, then remove from pot, fresh oil, brown off meat, add veg back in, then other sauces and remaining ingredients. Long slow cook. Tip with ground meat - a potato masher works really well to break it up once browned and everything in there.

Beans - I like red kidney beans to stretch it, if needed. Gotta have loads of chillis :)


Joined Dec 14, 2006
I'm jumping in with Vegetarian Chili, which I've actually decided I prefer to the meat kind. (And I don't have to go out to the store in sub-zero weather for the meat.) And while we're arguing ingredients, I would never put carrots or celery in any chili, not even the vegetarian kind.

Vegetarian Chili

1 medium onion, chopped, and sauted in olive oil until onion starts to soften

Add and cook until fragrant:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Add, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender:
4 cups hot water
1 1/2 cup brown lentils, rinsed
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes

Add more water and adjust seasoning as needed.

When lentils are done, add and heat through:
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Serve over rice, with shredded MJ cheese and more green onions on top, and sour cream on the side.
Joined Dec 4, 2009
Just to take this onto a whole new direction:


Serves 6


2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small yellow (or white!) bell pepper, chopped
2-4 medium Guerro peppers (small pale yellow, waxy)
1-½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves,
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
15 ounces cannellini and/or great northern beans, with liquid
salt to taste (optional)

2 stalks green onions, chopped
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Heat oil and butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook onions and peppers/chiles 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

Add chicken and cook, turning, until chicken is almost but not quite done.

Add garlic, spices and flour and stir well. Reduce heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flour smell is gone.

Add chicken broth and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Garnish with green onion, cilantro and shredded cheese.

I throw this in here just to show that there's "authentic" chili and other things that will rock the boats of those who insist that "chili must have..." and "chili cannot have...".

Chili is slow cooked meat -- or other protein -- seasoned in a Spanish/Mexican style. As BdL pointed out, maybe "chili colorado" is THE authentic chili. It's beef slow-cooked in a seasoned red sauce. But then there's "chili verde": pork slow cooked in a green sauce. And why do we even have the phrase "chili con carne" (chili with meat) if chili is by default with meat? Why not "chili con frijoles"?

And THEN, heaven forbid, I've used that most reviled of all proteins -- white breast meat chicken!!!!! I'll hand in my toque at the door on the way out.

Joined Feb 13, 2008
Re cooking the dry spices:

The "right" time (such as it is) to toast them in a dry pan would be immediately before grinding. Instead, time them with the onions. Just like making most "curries," the powdered spices and dry herbs go in when the onions are about halfway ready for the liquids.

Some people brown the meat and remove it before starting the onions -- that's why I'm leaving the meat out of the timing. I will say that the onions halfway cooked point is also a good time for the garlic and chopped chilis.

The point here is to fry the spices, not toast them. The idea is to both cook the spices at a fairly high heat -- which alters their flavor mostly by "cooking the raw off" -- and to infuse the saute oil. After they start smelling good, it's time to add the tomato paste (if you're using it) and brown that.

If you've had French technique beaten into you with a stiff whisk,you could go for a roux pincage after browning the paste. I don't. To the extent my chili ever gets thickened, it's with a masa slurry near the end of cooking as specified in the instructions of the Carol Shelby's Original Texas Chili kit. Ultimately, like many "curries," most of the structure in mine comes from the onions, tomato and reduction.

BTW, I'm not suggesting that chili needs to be authentic, original, colorado, or anything else to be wonderful. Bread, beer, bowl, spoon, raw chopped onions, and, "Good to go," says I.

Delicious is as delicious does,
Joined Jan 23, 2010
I have heard abt Mexican Rice. Can Someone tell me the procedures for Preparing the Mexican Rice.
Joined Dec 20, 2008
1st thanks for the clarification on when to add spices, I think it is an important point.

As for the masa, I have tried corn meal as a thickener for chili, and the texture is all wrong. I am down for natural reduction, and the only reason I say any corn starch is if you have a serving dead line.

Let me ask, if there is still a bit of oily fat that collects on the surface right before the chili is done, do you think corn starch can do much absorbing that oily fat? Is there a good rule of thumb for thickening and absorbing using corn starch, or is it easier to just use small amounts until you get the thickness you want?
Joined Feb 13, 2008
As you say, corn meal doesn't work for thickening because its texture, and the resulting texture of the gravy are all wrong.

However, masa is ground as fine as flour -- heck, it is flour -- and works just like flour. The flavor is slightly different, though. Perhaps not different enough to bother hunting masa down if it's not sold in your local super. A convenient alternative, is regular flour in a slurry.

Your floating oil question is a good one, but not one I often face because I usually don't use ground meat and am able to do a pretty close trim before dicing the meat I do use.

The kicker is the thickness you've already achieved when you notice the oil. If your chili is thin, you could thicken it by adding more slurry and hope that absorbs the oil -- which it almost certainly would.

However if the thickness were otherwise right and I had to serve the chili right away, I'd try skimming the oil off. Or just leave it; we eat enough hardcore asian food that we don't find a little oil unattractive.

If I had the time, or in the case of leftovers, I'd chill the chili and pick the fat off the top after it solidifies before reheating.

Joined Mar 21, 2008
Masa adds a sweetness that I don't think normal flour would. It is easy to find even here in the boonies of MN so anyone should be able to get it. Try the baking area at the store or the Mexican food section. Bob's Red Mill is one brand that seems easy to get.
Joined Dec 23, 2000
Some years ago, on the way from Chicago to Knoxville, we detoured off the interstate into downtown Cincinnati to sample the fabled "chili five ways." We went to the Skyline restaurant, touted as the pinnacle of Cincy chili.

We got... overcooked, mushy spaghetti, watery tasteless chili (and not enough of it at that :rolleyes:) and bland, gluey cheese.

What the he!l is it with these people?

Well, the chopped onions weren't bad...

We haven't been to Cincy since, and have no plans to go, at least until the end of our lives. :p
Joined Dec 20, 2008
I love learning stuff that can be useful. Thanks to BDL and other who shared their knowledge, so much good stuff.

One more question or critique..

In my recipe above, I mention at the bottom the concept of the Meat Sofrito base. In your opinion have I just added unnecessary steps by cooking the ground beef separately from the stew beef?

Any other critiques of that recipe and methods are appreciated...
Joined Dec 23, 2000
I found this recipe for a complex chili, together with a very interesting dissertation on ingredients and finer points of preparing the chilis at

Recipe: The Best Chili Ever | www.GoodEater.org

I just made a big batch of Chasen's chili, and we're working our way through that (it gets better by the day, of course) but this will definitely be next in the chili queue.

The chef's resume appears at the end of the article and is impressive. Anybody know him or about him? Don't think I've heard of any chef who is an MIT graduate. Didn't even realize they had a culinary school, in fact. :p

Joined Jan 27, 2010
Good morning everyone.the interstate into downtown Cincinnati to sample the fabled "chili five ... Cooking Questions and Discussion " Home Cooking - Your Cookin Chili Tonight.Tonight I'm making chili and tacos (DD wont eat HOT chili).
Joined Nov 5, 2007
One of my favorite chilis is based on the ovenight braise of a beef brisket with onions, garlic and chiles. I'll have to make a batch soon and write it up and take some pictures for wasatchfoodies.com

A friend of mine used to host a chili party the saturday night before the Super Bowl. Lots of great stuff, we'd usually get 15 - 20 different varieties. One year I did three different ones - chicken & habanero, chipotle pork and a third that got quite a few chuckles from the guests. I took a can of the cheapest prepared stuff I could find at the store, set it on an electric cup warmer and stuck a plastic spoon in it. Probably the most photographed dish that year, though I didn't get a picture of it, drat.

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