Chili with Beans

Note: I have often use the Chili “kits” sold at the grocery store. These have nice fresh spices and you can always adjust with your own seasonings. Most of those kits don't add weird chemicals.

2 - 3 lbs. coarsely ground beef rib meat or stew meat. We used 2 lbs regular ground beef recently which was just right.

2-3 onions chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1 chopped bell pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Dash white pepper

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons chili powder

Tabasco, chopped jalapeno or cayenne pepper to taste. Or 2 or 3 chopped seeded poblanos

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce or a can of chopped tomatoes

1 cup water

1 can refried beans (optional)

2 cans small red beans

3 - 4 heaping tablespoons instant masa harina (Mexican corn flour) mixed with 2+ cups water as needed for thickening or 1 can refried beans (optional)

8 oz. block of colby style cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1 large chopped sweet onion

chopped cilantro

Coarsely grind meat, or ask butcher (if they do that sort of thing). Brown and drain. Sauté onion, pepper, garlic, add to meat along with the seasonings. Add tomato sauce and water and simmer gently for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove bay leaf, add beans. Thicken if necessary with masa harina mixed with a little water, or use flour and water to thicken. The refried beans will thicken the chili also.

Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with grated cheese (mild cheddar or Monterey Jack) and chopped sweet onion. Cornbread is great with this.


Update Nov 2017: We made a batch using 2 cups of dry red beans, "speed soaked" with the pressure cooker as per this.

We also had a shortage of ground beef, and substituted some hot Italian sausage, foregoing the tabasco/cayenne to keep it from getting too spicy. -- KB and MB