Basic Chili


Photgraphed by Baby Boy

There are as many ways to make chili as there are cooks in the world.  Honestly I’m not sure if I ever make it the same way twice.  It doesn’t seem to matter, it always turns out good.       

In college for my Biology class, we had an extra credit question that asked “What is the perfect dinner?”.  At the time we were studyingnutrition, the Krebs cycle etc. so I assumed she was asking what’s the perfect healthy meal.  I was not as clever as one of my classmates who answered “A cabin in the woods, dinner by the fire, wine and the perfect woman.”  Button (that was my professors name), gave him the extra credit because she couldn’t argue with the response.       

I earned an extra credit also, but I answered…you guessed it…a bowl full or red….chili with the works!  Seriously, it has protein, carbs, fiber, veggies, and with a dollop of sour cream or some grated cheese on top you’ve got dairy.  There’s a reason why those cowboys ate chili on a regular basis.  I prattled on about how the acid from the tomatoes breaks down the beans making the protien more digestable, etc.  You don’t want to hear all that, she probably didn’t want to hear all that either, but I couldn’t risk losing an extra point…just in case.  And since I was not as clever as my classmate I had to be a little more scientific.       

Chili is good! Chili is good for you and taste good too.  It is also a great crockpot dish.  Sometimes I have to work late and I want to make sure the fam is takencare of.  This week McGyver is out of town so I’m catering to the Baby boy.   I put all of chili fixins together and let them slow cook all day.  Chili is even better when all the flavors have time to meld.  Shoot, it’s usually best when it’s leftover.  The Baby boy can’t wait to have chili dogs with leftover chili.       

Note: This is a basic chili recipe, feel free to use a variety of meat, ground beef, chorizo, sausage, ground venison, chopped sirloin, etc.  Same with the beans, you can use navy, pinto, kidney, black beans, chili beans, garbanzo beans, you get the picture.  As for the diced tomatoes, again, experimentation is all yours.  I even like to mix up the chili powder and use a combination on regular chili powder with ancho and chiptole chili powders.       



1 to 1 1/2 lbs meat       

1 onion, diced       

2 bell peppers, diced       

1 jalapeno (optional)      

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced       

2 cans beans       

2 cans diced tomatoes       

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste       

2 tbs chili powder       

2 tsp cumin       

2 tsp oregano    

1 to 2 cups water       




Dice the onion, garlic, and peppers.      

(I skipped the jalapeno since the Baby boy only likes mild spice and the chili powders I’m using are spicey)        


Add the garlic, onion and peppers t the meat and continue to cook until the onion is tender.     


Meanwhile, open all your cans.     


Add them to your crock pot or a large dutch oven.     


 Add the chili powder.    

(I used a combination of regular, ancho and chiptole chili powder)     


Add the cumin.     


And then the oregano.      


How beautiful is that?     


Top it off with the meat mixture and stir.    


You may need to add up to 2 cups of water to get your desired consistency.    


Cook on low (or low heat) 6 to 8 hours.      


    I made this for the Baby boy because I had to work late.  I asked him to take final photos for me since it would be dark by the time I got home.   

He took this,   


and this, and this, and this.  

Isn’t he sweet?  He wanted it to be just right.  I think I’ll keep him after all.        



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2 Responses to Basic Chili

  1. Janet April 24, 2010 at 4:42 am #

    made a kick butt “almost” chili this weekend. Will have to send you the recipe. Not that I measure ANYTHING…but, you know, that’s half the fun.

  2. Kitchen Butterfly April 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    Yum. I love chili, and cumin and the fact that it goes with an amazing variety of things!