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Chili, My Way

January 13, 2011

You know what I love about chili?

It’s ridiculously easy and just about impossible to screw up. It’s infinitely customizable to your tastes. There are about a million ways to make chili, and they’re all the right way. You can cook it on the stove or in a slow cooker, for 30 minutes or 3 hours. You can make it with or without beans, with or without meat. It can be insanely spicy or milder than a sunny Spring day. Really, there’s no wrong way to make chili.

You know what else I love about chili?

It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods. Chili is practically guaranteed to warm you up from your head to your toes on a cold winter night. Plus, you can make a huge batch and eat the leftovers for days, because chili only gets better with age. (Right up until it goes bad, that is. Don’t eat spoiled chili. I do not love that.)

Chili. It’s pretty great right? You should make some. This is how I make mine.


Chili, My Way

Adapted from Southern Living
Serves 4-6

Because chili is so flexible, I never make it the same way twice. This is a base recipe that I adjust to my taste and whims. Adjust the amount of liquid (beer and broth) based on cooking time and consistency preference. I like thick chili, so to only cook it for about an hour I use 1/2 of both the beer and the broth. Use any beer you like in the chili. If you don’t like beer, don’t worry, you won’t taste it. You can replace the beer with beef broth if you prefer. This chili is just slightly spicy.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large  onion, diced
1 to 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can beef broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
salt, to taste
1/2 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large deep pot* over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and garlic to skillet, breaking the meat into crumbles. Cook until beef is browned and no longer pink.

Add remaining ingredients, starting with 1/2 beer and broth amounts and adjusting seasoning to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes, up to several hours. Add remaining liquids if needed as the chili cooks.

Serve hot topped with cheese and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

*Alternately, to make this recipe in a slow cooker, cook the onions, beef, and garlic in a large skillet on the stove. Add meat mixture to slow cooker and combine with remaining ingredients. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 4-8 hours, or until ready to serve.

  1. January 13, 2011 12:42 pm

    This chili looks delicious! Is there anything better than a giant bowl of chili when it is cold and snowy outside?! I think not, I am going to have to try this one…looks great! :)

  2. January 13, 2011 1:40 pm

    Chili and I are BFF at the moment. I’ve been craving it constantly and can’t really understand why. I mean, I do, because it’s awesome. It’s more like why NOW. Love the sound of this base recipe! I’m definitely going to need to give it a go!

  3. Renee permalink
    January 13, 2011 1:44 pm

    Ooh, this looks like a good ‘base’ that’s similar to a chili I made & liked last year. Will likely be trying this very soon :)

  4. January 13, 2011 4:03 pm

    Yum! It sounds so delicious! Believe it or not chili was one of those simple meals that I just could not get right for the longest time. I have no idea why. Bachelors can make chili that tastes good and I couldn’t. :) I finally found a recipe that that I love but I think I may have to try this one as well because I’m loving that list of ingredients.

  5. oneordinaryday permalink
    January 13, 2011 5:49 pm

    Oh, the first time I ever made chili in college, I messed it up soooo bad. I must have put a couple tbsps. of salt into the pot ~ I’ve sinced blocked out the whole episode. Needless to say, it was not edible.
    Yours, however, sounds excellent! Love the add-in of cocoa powder.

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      January 13, 2011 5:53 pm

      Oh, well yes, I supposed there is one way to ruin chili ;) But I’ve heard adding potato to overly salty foods helps, so maybe you could have had some potato chili!

  6. January 26, 2011 12:54 pm

    Ohhhh yes….one CAN screw up chili. My mother used to put RAISANS and CASHEWS in hers! You say what?! And you know what happens when you cook raisans in warm liquid, right? They turn into grapes. Horrible horrible. Don’t do it, for the love of God. But yours looks divine and my mother should follow your recipe to the T.

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      January 26, 2011 1:04 pm

      OK, I stand corrected! You CAN screw up chili. Raisins? Cashews? I would have never thought.

  7. January 30, 2011 4:10 pm

    I’m definitely making this tomorrow… I’ve been looking for a good, semi-simple chili recipe and I just stumbled upon this one, so perfect timing! Beer, green chilies, and cocoa powder? Sold!

  8. Suzi Zelinsky permalink
    February 2, 2011 4:37 pm

    Made this last night and served it over a baked potato with shredded cheese
    and chives or diced onion—-did use the cocoa and only 1 lb. of beef—this was a huge hit!!!!

  9. March 21, 2011 9:57 am

    Looks perfectly yummy. I’ve been looking for a slow-cooker recipe for chicken chili…may have to put that on hold to try your version!


  10. theveryhungrybookworm permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:10 am

    You know, I would have thought that we were past the time of year for chili, but then I looked outside…and it’s snowing. Chili for dinner tonight!

  11. March 21, 2011 10:17 am

    I enjoy chili with sour cream and LOTS of cheese!!

  12. lovelaughmirch permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:38 am

    YUM! this looks good :) I might try and this and use ground lean turkey instead of the beef!

  13. March 21, 2011 10:40 am

    looks so delish!!! cant wait to make it my self!!! congrats on being fp’ed! the picture is so mouth watering!

  14. March 21, 2011 10:57 am

    yeah, my mum puts baked beans in. not cool. yours looks lovely!!

  15. Effli permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:01 am

    I’ve never tried chili before, but judging from your post it sounds pretty delicious. I am sure I will try your recipe once I find the time!

  16. March 21, 2011 11:09 am

    I love cooking chili for all the same reasons. Great photo.

  17. Pia permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:18 am

    Will definitely try this recipe! I love love love chili too!

  18. March 21, 2011 12:07 pm

    I was surprised with some of the ingredients you use. Cocoa was the biggest surprise. Sounds like a winner.

  19. maryct70 permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:14 pm

    I LOVE chili, and this recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing, and Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  20. March 21, 2011 12:23 pm

    I LOVE chili with sour cream involved. Nice!


  21. March 21, 2011 12:33 pm

    This looks great! I can’t wait to try it! Who doesn’t love chili?!

  22. March 21, 2011 12:45 pm

    i am a huge chili fan and this recipe looks to die for. im gonna have to try this recipe out! thanks for sharing

  23. March 21, 2011 1:01 pm

    Just went to a chili cook-off yesterday. Wish I would have found this recipe to try! It sounds perfect!

  24. March 21, 2011 1:12 pm

    Looks really good! Must try.
    Kaukab’s daughter

  25. March 21, 2011 1:17 pm

    Beer in your chili!?!? I would love to try your recipe! You are right- it is the ultimate comfort food, and best enjoyed with beer as well. Love the name of your blog… that is me all the way… nice to se ethat I am not the only one who is passionate about/whose life revolves around food… fab blog!

  26. March 21, 2011 1:36 pm

    MMMMMM! Chili! Your mix sounds very good, though I have found that keeping it simple is the best way… cooking for a long time!

  27. March 21, 2011 1:50 pm

    The minute I saw sour cream, I thought OMG yum. I love the stuff. The cocoa powder seems a bit strange, but I’m sure it will end up tasty a la a Mexican mole.

    Congratulations on being FP!

  28. March 21, 2011 2:07 pm

    looks delicious!

  29. March 21, 2011 2:18 pm

    My dad makes great chili. I think I’m going to try your recipe it looks great. Thanks

  30. March 21, 2011 2:33 pm

    Interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  31. March 21, 2011 2:45 pm

    Beautiful photography.

  32. March 21, 2011 2:59 pm

    this recipe looks awesome. I must give it a try and soon! I love making chili all different ways. last time I made it, I used cumin, cayenne, and garam masala for an indian inspired flavor. it was SO good.

  33. March 21, 2011 3:33 pm

    Good recipe! I recommend cutting up some spicy Italian sausage and cooking it with the beef…I like how alittlebarefoot’s Indian inspired chili sounds.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this!

  34. March 21, 2011 3:53 pm

    YES! Chili the perfect meal! Okay some may “know” how to screw it up ( they are either trying too hard or not thinking). I hardly ever follow a recipe so mine comes out different every time. My daughter made me write it down once. I will probably never look at it again! :) I heard about beer in chili. Never tried it. Hum, I feel a chili night coming on! Thanks, and congrats on being FP!

  35. Carole Leupi permalink
    March 21, 2011 4:05 pm

    Would you happen to have a good recipe for vegetarian chili?

  36. Juan permalink
    March 21, 2011 4:16 pm

    I’ve always thought booze and chili was a great combination! I have yet to try substituting beer for the broth. I like pretty much anything from a Corona, a hoppy IPA, to a smooth stout like Guinness. Which beer would you recommend?

  37. March 21, 2011 4:20 pm

    I’m gonna have to try this one. I love chili, especially when it is “chilly” out. And, I have never made it with the addition of cocoa powder, but I love everything chocolate, so I’m gonna try it. Thanks for posting.

  38. March 21, 2011 4:47 pm

    A tablespoon or 2 of your favorite creamy peanut butter is a nice addition as well. Thanks for the tips! Can’t wait to try the beer and cocoa powder – YUM!

  39. March 21, 2011 7:51 pm

    wow it should be delicious
    do you know what is the norouz or 7 sin ?

  40. J Roycroft permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:01 pm

    Looks good. I’ll try yours if you try mine.
    Congrats on FP

  41. March 21, 2011 9:41 pm

    Yu-hum! Thanks for the great inspiration.
    And congrats on the FP!

  42. March 21, 2011 9:50 pm

    I love food blogs. Such great recipes and photography! That looks very appetizing and like something I will have to try very soon. Thanks for sharing.

  43. March 21, 2011 10:06 pm

    The picture looks absolutely delicious.

  44. March 22, 2011 1:21 am

    Yummy! I love chili – this looks delicious.

  45. March 22, 2011 1:33 am

    I think my dad is going to LOVE this recipe – can’t wait to give it a go! Will definitely ramp up the chilli for him!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  46. March 22, 2011 2:06 am

    Yum! i love chili and can’t wait to try it

    thanks a lot

  47. March 22, 2011 3:45 am

    Love this receipe.. We probably have every ingredient listed. Thank you for posting.. Sounds Delish.

  48. March 22, 2011 4:20 am

    Thanks for making my mouth water…I think

    Congrats on getting pressed!

  49. March 22, 2011 5:18 am

    That’s really scrumptiously delicious! Very well detailed too.

  50. the bench conversations permalink
    March 22, 2011 5:51 am

    Sounds yummy looks scrumptious :)

  51. Katie Gou permalink
    March 22, 2011 6:02 am

    Mmmm.. so… hungry!!

  52. crushonu permalink
    March 22, 2011 6:38 am

    i love chili foods!!

  53. March 22, 2011 7:29 am

    Well thank you WordPress for featuring your Chili blog post (the appetising photo attracted my attention)! Your site is wonderful; I love the whole look and feel of it. I look forward to searching through it and trying out the wealth of recipes you appear to have listed. Hooray!! :)

  54. March 22, 2011 7:42 am

    Wow, I love that too.

  55. captainice15 permalink
    March 22, 2011 8:36 am

    I don’t get it. Dark Cocoa powder in chili? Even though it’s optional, sounds tasty to me!

  56. oghex permalink
    March 22, 2011 8:56 am

    i like this cheese and chili

  57. March 22, 2011 9:01 pm

    this looks positively scrumptious .. I’m going to have to try it! Thanks :) MJ

  58. March 23, 2011 2:20 am

    YUM! this looks delicious. If you’re really into chill, try Milwakuee styled chili. I’m a Californian girl and I tried it in within the last year…. I will never go back to any other style of chili! give it a try.

  59. March 24, 2011 12:38 pm

    Oh my. Now this looks heavenly. Chili reminds me of my mom and childhood. I NEED to make this ASAP. :)

  60. March 27, 2011 1:18 pm

    I’m always looking for a good chili recipe, so I shall be tucking this away until I’m motivated enough to try again :)

  61. March 30, 2011 2:35 am

    Wow that looks yummy, excellent recipe and that photo look great as well


  62. April 3, 2011 10:34 pm

    This is a very good recepie and makes me want to start banging pots together even though it is late evening. I often make up huge pots of the stuff and add some finely diced celery and carrots with a mixture of different beans…garnished with chopped onions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, cheese or guacamole…thankyou for your inspiration

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