This might not be considered a classic chili in Texas because I include beans in mine, but it’s really easy to make and is absolutely delicious. This used to be my “hurry up” weeknight version, but it’s now my only version because it’s just that good. One of my secrets? I use beans that are already seasoned and then just amp up the spices. Those who do put beans in their chili generally use either pinto, red, or kidney beans.
Chili freezes beautifully, so if you do have leftovers, you can put them in the freezer, or you can make one of my children’s favorite meals — Chili Topped Baked Potatoes. If you’re serving it for dinner, try pairing it with corn bread.
Chili beans could be in the Federal Witness Protection Program because they go by different aliases. Some beans are labeled “chili beans” and others are labeled “seasoned chili beans,” while others go by “beans in mild chili sauce.” I generally buy whatever is cheapest because they’re all good and I doctor the final sauce anyway.
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 lb. ground beef (I use 80%)
- 2 15.5-16 oz. cans chili beans
- 1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans (light or dark), rinsed and drained in a strainer
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- grated cheddar cheese for serving, optional
- In a large saucepan with lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground beef and cook until there is no more pink in the meat.
- Pour the contents of the pan into a strainer over the sink to drain the fat.
- Put the beef and onion mixture back in the pan and add all the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, put the cover on, and reduce the heat to low to simmer the chili for at least 25 minutes. Stir the chili a few times to prevent the bottom from sticking. You don’t want a vigorous boil. If it is, either lower the heat more, or partially cover the pot with the lid to slow the cooking process. You want a steady soft bubbling.
- After 25 minutes, taste for seasoning. You might want to add more chili powder, salt, cayenne, etc.
- Pour into bowls and serve.