Recipe: Classic Chili

It’s been a tradition in my family to make chili for Halloween, and it’s a tradition that I carry on in my adult life every year.  My parents used to make a big batch every Halloween, served with buttered egg noodles and topped with cheese. This was always the perfect meal to fuel up our trick-or-treating adventures.  This dish is warm, comforting, and mildly spicy, and is an excellent big batch food.

The recipe that I made this year was definitely an all afternoon affair – I started around 1 and let it simmer while I worked from home.  This would be an excellent slow cooker/Crock pot candidate to leave to cook during the day, as this dish really benefits from some low and slow cooking time to allow all of the flavors to really meld together.  My version this year was made from ground beef with a mildly spicy tomato base, with added beans.  I know there are a lot of cultural/regional variations on what a “classic chili” dish can be, but this recipe is the classic version to me.  It’s a great base if you want to add extra flavors like chocolate or coffee, and the flavors are mildly spicy, rich and beefy.  

Recipe down below, along with some pictures!  This made a really big batch (we’re still eating it!), so feel free to cut in half for a smaller crowd.

Classic Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20 fat)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 1 can of beer (light/lager style beer with no hops added preferred)
  • 3 (15.5 oz) cans of diced or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can of black beans
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can of kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt

Method:

  1. Dice onions, garlic, and jalapenos.  Set aside.
  2. Set a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove, and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef to the pan, and cook until fully browned, using a spoon to break the meat down into smaller pieces as it cooks.  Once the meat is fully cooked (about 7 minutes), remove the ground beef from the pot to a clean plate, set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the pot or Dutch oven, and cook over medium-high heat until onions become translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.  There should be a good amount of fat left behind in the pan from cooking the ground beef, but if more fat is needed, add some olive oil during the onion cooking process.
  4. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and the jalapenos, and cook until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  5. Next, add the spices (chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt) to the pot, and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds – 1 minute), stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the beer to the pot, and stir to combine.  Using your spoon, scrape any remaining brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan and into the sauce.  Cook until all of the alcohol has cooked out of the beer, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the canned tomatoes, stir to combine.  Add the cooked ground beef back into the pot, stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to come up to a full boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer over low heat.  Cover and allow to simmer, checking and stirring every 30 minutes or so, for about 3-4 hours.
  8. 30 minutes before serving, drain and rinse the black and kidney beans using a colander.  Add the beans to the pot of chili and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes to fully heat the beans through.
  9. Serve with your favorite chili sides, such as buttered noodles, with tortilla chips, topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, or avocados.  Enjoy!

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