Monday, November 14, 2011

Chunky Chili

I have a confession:  Until recently I never successfully made chili from scratch.  I tried, but I never got the balance of spices and the consistency right, so I relied on (gasp!) pre-packaged seasoning mixes.  

I had a taste for chili this past Sunday, but I wasn't in the mood to go back to the grocery store for a box of pre-packaged chili seasonings, so I decided to make up my own recipe.  The funny thing is that this recipe isn't even that complicated, unusual, or elaborate, but it tastes great and it convinced me that I won't be needing my chili training wheels anymore.

Several of the ingredients for this recipe were sitting in cans in my pantry:  black beans, small red beans, Ro-Tel, and tomato sauce.  Before I go any further, I acknowledge that some people think that chili with beans is just wrong.  I respect that opinion, but my family loves beans and I beans are healthy and low-fat, so I added tons of beans.  I also went to town on the veggies by adding bell peppers, onions and Ro-Tel (a canned mixture of tomatoes and green chiles that I can't believe I didn't know about until adulthood).

I opted for a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef because I don't really like beef and I knew I could get the beefy taste that most people want with a blend of ground meats simmered in beef stock.  The result?  This is some good chili! My only complaint is that it could be spicier, but you could remedy that by adding a chopped jalapeno or adding a bit more cayenne pepper.  A word of caution:  this recipe has enough salty ingredients that I opted not to add any salt.  I suggest you prepare the recipe as stated and then add salt to taste, if necessary.

I made a big pot (8-10 servings) on Sunday afternoon, let it simmer until dinnertime, and I plan to enjoy the leftovers for lunch at work.  I've also successfully frozen chili in the past, so that's an option, too.  I like my chili with tortilla chips or grilled cheese or on nachos.  How do you like your chili?  Are you a beans or no beans person?  Is there a food that you love to eat, but haven't mastered?

Chunky Chili
a Keeley original
8-10 servings

1 large onion, diced
1 fresh bell pepper (I used red, green would work, too), diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 14-ounce can Ro-Tel (original flavor)
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can small red or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups low-sodium beef stock
2 Tablespoons corn flour (Masa, look for it in the Hispanic/Latino aisle) dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water

Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pot or Dutch oven.  Heat to medium and saute onions and peppers for 3-5 minutes, or until softened.  Add in garlic and saute for another minute, stirring constantly.

Add ground turkey and ground beef and increase heat to medium high.  Cook, stirring frequently to break up the meat, for 8-10 minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Drain any excess liquid or fat from the pot.

Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cinnamon to the meat.  Stir to combine.

Add tomato sauce, beef broth, beans, and Ro-Tel to the pot.  Stir to combine.

Pour masa mixture into the pot and stir to combine.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste for seasonings and serve hot or refrigerate and reheat later.


  1. Oooo! This first time experiment looks like perfection :)

  2. Once I discovered all the sodium and yucky ingredients in those seasoning packets, I stopped using them. You used all the same ingredients and veggies that I put in my chili. I thought I was the only one using Rotel though. You go girl. This looks delish!

  3. Yes, Rotel is the bomb! I just thought about all of the things I like in someone else's chili and I dumped them in mine!

  4. Definitely beans. Otherwise it's just....I don't know....meat soup.

    My favorite version has 4 different kinds of beans (kidney, garbanzo, pinto and black usually, but it depends on what I have hanging around), a tomato based sauce and a little bit of baking cocoa to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

    I don't care for spicy food and neither do my kids, so I leave the hot sauce on the side so my husband can season his own bowl.

  5. This looks great! I love beans in my chili too. Oh and I totally agree about Ro-tel. They are amazing!

  6. I'm a no beans least I think. My palette seems to be not hating beans as much as I used to. I've never even attempted to make chili, but I could sooo see myself trying this on a cold day during this winter (sigh). I like the idea of blending meats...I think I'll "pin" this :)

  7. Tried your version and it was yummy as always. :)


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