classic beef chili


I love making this warm meat and bean filled soup on Saturdays or Sundays in the fall while my family watches football. After all, what is football season without chili? The hearty soup is perfect for serving a larger group of people during cooler temperatures. This recipe combines ground beef with tomatoes, kidney beans and pinto beans for a classic version of soup. I always serve it topped with sour cream, Cheddar cheese, avocado, jalapeños and with a side of either Fritos for dipping or cornbread. Tossing the meat in baking soda prior to sautéing it helps to keep the meat moist.

One Saturday when I was living at home in New Jersey, my parents were going out to dinner so my dad passed on having a bowl. He came home later ready for a late night snack, but was upset when he realized that our friends had already eaten all of it. I had to make him a new batch the next day. Moral of the story is: never pass up on chili!



For the chili:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds ground beef (80/20)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (26-ounce) can peeled tomatoes

1 (26-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (15-ounce each) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ cup dark beer, like a stout

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


For serving:

Sour cream, as needed

Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, as needed

2 medium jalapeños, thinly sliced

2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

Fritos®, as needed



For the chili:

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Toss the ground beef in the baking soda then add the beef and diced onion to the pot. Sauté until the meat is evenly browned and the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes with their liquid and the beans to the pot, stirring to combine. Stir in the Worcestershire, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, thyme, beer and 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 2 hours.


For serving:

Ladle the chili into warmed bowls, and top with a dollop of sour cream, Cheddar cheese, jalapeños, avocado and Fritos®.


Serves 10.


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