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Chili Season
Posted December 12, 2006 at 09:17:54 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
'Tis the season! Chili season, that is. During the winter, I cook a lot of chili - and this season is no exception. Chili seems to be one of those things that a lot of men have strong feelings on, and just about everyone has their own "special" recipe. In fact, I think chili deserves it's own "special" blog entry.

I learned to cook chili by watching my mom, but my current formulation is so very far from that original recipe. I like to experiment, and through the years I've taken out things I don't care for and added things I like. I think of my personal recipe in two parts: The base and the options.
  • Brown 1-2 pounds of ground beef in a large pan, then drain and set aside.
  • Add some oil to the pan and toss in 3-4 medium sized onions, diced.
  • After 3 minutes, add the meat back to the pan and dump in some tomatoes (36 oz or so) and 1 small can of tomato paste (with a little water).
  • Spice this mixture with 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and some salt and pepper. All spice measurements are guesses/approximations, as I've never actually measured. Do it a little at a time, by taste.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and EAT.
  • Instead of using ground beef, use a mixture of ground beef and sausage.
  • Season the meat with a teaspoon of oregano and some black pepper while browning.
  • Dice 2-3 chilpotle peppers (in adoboe sauce) and add in with the tomatoes.
  • Instead of adding salt and water, add 1 can of chicken broth (or a few bullion cubes and some water).
  • Ladle about 1 cup of chili into a food processor and blend to a puree, then add it back to the chili (Spreads flavors around and thickens the chili).
  • Add a few squirts of yellow mustard.
And there you have my not-very-secret personal chili recipe. I've tried a few other options, like using steak or other non-ground meats, but I prefer the texture of ground meat in chili. I am staunchly opposed to using beans, pastas, or other fillers in chili, though I often cook small side pots of them for a "build-your-own-chili bar". For toppings, I like diced onions and jalapeņos, along with some shredded cheese or sour cream if available.

What special options do you use?
Finch (December 12, 2006 at 10:40:23 AM):
Can something really be called chili with no beans? Seems like you're just making spiced meat.

Also, I like using equal parts of big hunks of beef/pork/lamb as my meat.
Finch (December 12, 2006 at 10:51:39 AM):
Apparently this is a very contentious issue.
Bean (December 12, 2006 at 11:17:08 AM):
I was just about to post that exact same link! Also, if you check out The list of chili champion recipes, you'll notice that none of them have beans (or pasta, or rice).
corbin (December 12, 2006 at 06:41:54 PM):
i love chili. we're having chili tonight. i am stoked. we use beans and mac. i never heard of using rice until this year, when i was in VA and they had a chili cookoff adn someone had

i like chili sans beans and mac. Hard times cafe has 4 types of chili (5 if you count vegitarian) that are exquisite. they're all over VA, but i think there's only one in Indiana, specifically in Indianapolis
Viviane (December 13, 2006 at 07:54:03 AM):
We often make vegetarian chilies and stews (barley lentil stew last night, for instance) and I always add a big pinch or two of cinnamon. Gives it that little something special in flavor that you can't quite figure out when you eat it, but it's so good.
Chaz (December 13, 2006 at 09:21:46 AM):
I like to add black beans, corn, and sometimes zucchini to my chili. Corn is probably one of my faves though
dirt (December 13, 2006 at 10:04:00 AM):
Chaz is naxt.

I make fairly boring chili so have nothing to contribute. I like mine a little mo betta hotter so I'll put green chilis and/or jalapenos in it.
Bean (December 13, 2006 at 11:37:39 AM):
I think when you add corn, beans, and zuchinni, it becomes meaty salsa. Which sounds great!
bigD (December 13, 2006 at 11:52:43 AM):
I advocate adding corn to nearly any dish. I have never added corn directly to a pot of chili, but I do often mix it with leftovers, especially taco chili leftovers.

I would not add zuchinni because that sounds gross.

I do add muchrooms though, whole button type.
Bean (December 13, 2006 at 01:18:18 PM):
Stoked for various chili's at the next CHILIFEST! TP - you hostin'?

K. (December 14, 2006 at 08:33:03 AM):
Texas-style chili con carne calls for adding some masa harina as a thickener. I also like to use cheap beer instead of water and seared beef tips that have simmered for several hours instead of ground meat. No beans, no rice, no spaghetti, just meat and sauce. Here's an approximate version:,1977,FOOD_9936_25980,00.html

Corn bread is a mandatory chili side dish in our household.

m1 (December 14, 2006 at 09:43:09 AM):
Carrots and steak belong in my chili, ass wheels. And about a cup of Frank's.
bigD (December 14, 2006 at 11:12:24 AM):
uberstoked for chilifest!
stef (December 14, 2006 at 03:53:34 PM):
stoked for chilifest as long as it's not in month #2
*Schy's are tre' busy that month*
Sara (December 23, 2006 at 09:38:59 AM):
I don't get too fancy... just some meat, onions, and chili-magic beans with extra chili powder and cayenne pepper. For something different, I add some cinnimon and chocolate syrup.
bean (December 23, 2006 at 03:24:48 PM):
I threwe up a little in my mouth when I read "chocolate syrup"
Finch (December 23, 2006 at 07:38:30 PM):
agreed. that sounds pretty wretched.
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