Nov 30, 2016

Classic Ground Beef Chili

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Classic ground beef chili with tomatoes and kidney beans spiced with chili powder cooked with beer for added flavor.

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I love making this warm meat and bean filled ground beef chili 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 chunks of warmed cornbread.

Classic Beef Chili

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Beef –   I use a blend of 80% lean/ 20% fat ground beef. The fat adds flavor to the chili which I season with my own spice blend.
  • Baking soda – Tossing the meat in baking soda prior to sautéing it helps to keep the meat moist.
  • Beans – I use a mix of dark kidney beans and pinto beans in this chili recipe. Rather than taking the time to soak the beans I opt for canned beans. Be sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding them to the pot.
  • Spices – Rather than using a store-bought spice mixture I make my own using a few simple spices. The flavor of the chili comes from a blend of chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano and thyme.
  • Worcestershire – This fermented condiment adds a lot of concentrated flavor – a little goes a long way. The flavor of Worcestershire comes from a mix of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract and chili pepper.
  • Beer – I use a stout beer to add a more complex flavor to this recipe.
classic beef chili in pot

How to Make Classic Beef Chili

For the classic beef chili

  1. Add beef to pot. 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 to the pot.
  2. Brown the beef. Sauté until the meat is evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Next, 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.
  4. Cook the chili. 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:

  1. Ladle into bowls. Ladle the chili into warmed bowls.
  2. Garnish and serve. Top with a dollop of sour cream, Cheddar cheese, green onion, avocado and Fritos®.
chili with cornbread

Tips and Tricks For This Recipe

  • This recipe can easily be made in a crockpot. Cook the onion and brown the beef then add all ingredients to the cockpot and heat on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or high heat for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Easily swap the ground beef in this recipe for ground turkey for a lightened up version.
  • Don’t rush the cooking process! Cooking the chili over a long period of time allows deep flavors to develop.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Classic Beef Chili

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Serves 10

Ingredients:

For the classic beef 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 (28-ounce) can peeled tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 (15-ounce) 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, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

For Serving

  • Sour cream, as needed
  • Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, as needed
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • Fritos®, as needed

Instructions:

For the classic beef 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 to the pot.
  • Sauté until the meat is evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
  • 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, green onion, avocado and Fritos®.

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