Let’s face it, chili doesn’t really photograph well. But, this recipe is simple, delicious, and can be prepared in advance and then quickly reheated on a hot spring or summer evening for a no-fuss meal. That makes a chili recipe well worth sharing!
Another plus for this one is that this chili is completely customizable to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. You can choose to add meat to the chili, or if you’re vegetarian or vegan just leave it out and add some extra beans. If you do choose to add meat, you can choose any ground meat you prefer – chicken, turkey, beef, bison, emu – the choice is only limited by your imagination. Choose how spicy it is by adding more or less chili powder, and more or less cayenne pepper (or even none at all!).
There is one more choice to be had. When I serve chili at home, everyone gets their own bowl, and then a smorgasbord of toppings is laid out on the table – shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, sour cream, grated cheese, guacamole, and homemade tortilla chips usually all make an appearance. That lets everyone top their chili with whatever they like, meaning everyone eats happy.
I like to make this chili up at least the day before I’m planning on serving it. Something magical happens to the flavors when it’s just allowed to hang out in the fridge for a while. Trust me! Taste it when you cook it, and then the next day. It will always be better the second day.
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 2 hours
1 lb ground meat (optional), I prefer cutting up chicken and pulsing it in my food processor for this
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can black beans or a bean medley
1 tbsp unsulphured molasses (optional, but good)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink (if using). Add the onion, celery, and green pepper (and olive oil if not using ground meat) and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and half of the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, or until the spices are well combined and fragrant.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, molasses, beans and corn. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Taste and season with additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, or longer. Remove from the heat and serve, garnished however you prefer.
- Remember that the chili’s flavors will intensify and it will get spicier the longer it cooks and the longer it sits in the fridge.
- Make a double batch of chili and freeze half for eating sometime over the next few months.
- Chili is a great place for hiding vegetables. Add grated carrot or zucchini with the other veggies and they will just about disappear during the cooking process.