My Fav (Red) Chili Recipe

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Chili is make-ahead friendly, freezer-friendly, and a great way to re-purpose leftovers!  Busy Moms (and Dads!)… Chili is your friend.  The particular batch pictured, I was told, was the best chili ever.

(You may have noticed I didn’t blog for a real long while… so I am trying to catch up on all those recipes I meant to blog about but didn’t.  This should have been a December 2011 post!)

I wasn’t trying to make the best chili ever, but I was trying to find a way to re-use leftovers from Christmas week.  This batch had ground turkey and leftover steak (chopped up) and, if I remember correctly, leftover burger (broken up into crumbles).

The base recipe I use is really good anyway.  I made the base recipe for a football party and it was a hit.  For the football party, I actually made it the day before, stored in frig, and warmed back up in the crock pot for the party.  Making it the day before and letting it chill in the frig may have made it even better, as all the flavors had more time to mingle.

Recipe adapted from Savannah Tailgater Chili Recipe courtesy Bobby and Jamie Deen for Food Network Magazine


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (I prefer ground turkey) (Steak is excellent as well, would suggest using a good cut since this recipe doesn’t call for long cook time)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, FINELY diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and FINELY diced (about 1/2 cup) (I am not a fan of big chunks of bell pepper)
  • 3 – 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 HEAPING cup chili powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 HEAPING teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I use what I have… sometimes its a combo of light and dark kidney beans, sometimes a can of black beans makes it way in)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen corn kernels
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for serving


    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a fork, until cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Season the meat with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a paper towel-lined plate.

    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano and cumin and cook for 1 minute.

    Return the meat to the pot. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, 1 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and add more chili powder, if desired.

    Salt, pepper, ancho chile powder, cayenne… can all be used to boost flavor!  Generally, I will add a heaping tsp of ancho chile powder and sprinkle of cayenne.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Taste, taste, taste your food while cooking it!

    Ladle the chili into serving bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.


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