Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Yesterday I made a huge pot of chili in preparation for the group of friends about to descend upon my apartment. They are all coming down from the great white north (Michigan, where I and my partner are from) for New Years and I am so excited! However, they are all guys and they eat like pigs, hence the chili.

I love chili, it is probably my favorite food with meat in it. It is so spicy and complex, perfect for a cold day. I have been making chili forever and continually tweaking my process - I won't say recipe, since the closest thing I have to that is a list of spices I always put in to it. When I made chili yesterday, I thought about trying to write down the amounts of everything for this blog but in the end I just couldn't. It is one thing I am really not sure how to write a recipe for. It is the kind of food where you start with the base ingredients and then you just add shit in from there. Tasting along the way until its right.

So, I am going to give a partial recipe and let you explore the rest (i.e. the spices) until you find a combination you are happy with. That is pretty much what I do with everything I cook and I really encourage you to do it with any recipe of mine you try because everyone's tastes are different - you may discover you have a favorite spice that you like to see in your cooking that i don't use or something.

3 lb Lean Ground Beef
2 15 oz cans Kidney Beans
3 15 oz cans Diced Tomatoes
6 (or more) Jalapeno Peppers diced
3 Onions diced
1 tablespoon chopped Garlic
1 bottle Chili Sauce (should be in the isle with ketchup and such)
2 packets Chili seasoning (Consider going with the name brand for this as it usually has less filler)
1-2 teaspoons powdered Mustard (can use prepared mustard instead)
1-2 tablespoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
Couple shakes of Tabasco Sauce
1-2 tablespoons Brown Sugar (it balances the spiciness)
All spice measurements are approximate
Put kidney beans, diced tomatoes and chili sauce in a large pot and put on medium heat. Meanwhile brown ground beef and add chili spice packets to it along with the chili powder, cumin, and mustard. While beef is browning chop up the onions and peppers. Once beef has browned add to the pot then saute the onions, peppers, and garlic until clear and browned; add to the pot. Put in brown sugar, tabasco sauce, and worcestershire sauce into the pot. Taste and modify to your liking. Continue cooking for at least an hour, preferably two or more as the cooking really enhances the flavors and makes a thick chili. FYI, if you decide not to use the spice packets you should add salt, but if you use the packets you don't need any salt as they have plenty.


  1. I have been meaning to make chili for about a week now, and haven't gotten around to it due to not having a recipe! I think I'll make yours! :) I do have a question, though. Are the jalapenos essential? I don't do too well with really spicy stuff, usually.

  2. Hey Jamie,

    I'm excited you are going to make one of my recipes! :)

    To answer your question, no they aren't essential, it will still taste like chili, but they do provide an important additional flavor so if I were you I would reduce the number you put in instead of not using them at all. Also, the ridges inside the pepper is where most of the heat in a pepper comes from so if you cut those out (and remove the seeds) you will be left with the flavor of the pepper but not as much of the heat.

    Since you don't like really spicy food, you might want to also look for a mild chili powder, like the ancho chili pepper. Powdered ancho chili pepper is a lot milder than regular chili powder and it has a really great rich, smoky flavor that I think would be great in chili.

    Also, consider not using the tabasco sauce, as it adds in more spice than anything else and isn't really essential. (You could also sub in vinegar, to replace the acidic quality that the tabasco contributes).

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions for substitutions. I cook a lot like you do - tasting along the way - so I'll definitely be using spices that work for my palette. I just never use peppers at all so I wasn't sure what to do about them! :)

    I am totally excited that you have a food blog, btw. I'm subscribed now. ^_^

    If you're interested in food blogs, there is one from a woman in the feminist/progressive blogosphere that I read: Almost Healthy. She's also a medical professional-in-training, so sometimes she's too busy to post, but I like the stuff she makes, especially the farinata.

  4. Thanks! Having new subscribers is exciting.

    Her site looks cool. I love that she makes fun of her bad photos, I too excel at taking mediocre food photos.

    Oh, I also just looked it up and I guess ancho peppers are called Pablano peppers if they are fresh. Also, cubano peppers are really mild if you ever want to try fresh peppers in anything.