I mentioned on Facebook that I hadn't been posting as much because my husband and I have been very serious about a deep freezer/pantry clean out! I love having about 5 times the amount of storage space for food versus our old apartment, but I didn't want things to become lost or forgotten. I've been coming up with interesting meals lately. Usually something frozen, with a can of something, and some veggies. Nothing blog-worthy. I did however spot canned tomatoes, canned black beans, canned kidney beans, canned corn, and frozen ground beef the other day; these ingredients just scream homemade chili. I'm surprised I've never posted a recipe for basic beef chili, but this one is so easy to follow and completely customizable. You can use beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, shredded chicken, veggie crumbles, or no meat at all. You can use black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc. It's up to you, so use whatever you have on hand.
Simple Beef Chili
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 26.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15.25 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 cups beef stock, you can also use vegetable stock, chicken stock, or just plain water
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp salt*
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- + a secret ingredient!
*Be sure to salt your chili last, after it's finished cooking. The saltiness of your stock will determine if you need to add salt. I used one teaspoon of beef bouillon with two cups of water, and my chili needed the additional 1/2 tsp of salt after cooking.
Want to know the secret ingredient I added? Leave it out if you think it's gross, but I used about 1/3 of a can of thick and chunky sloppy joe mix! I had it leftover and decided to throw it in along with the canned tomatoes, and this chili turned out delicious! Now it's definitely optional, it's just another layer of flavor. It's basically a spicy tomato sauce with a bit of diced peppers, but really if you have it on hand throw it on in there. You won't regret it. Another reason to salt at the very end of the recipe.
In a large pot add the ground beef, celery, onions, and bell pepper and saute over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables have softened. I used 85% lean beef so I didn't add any extra fat and I didn't need to drain my beef, but be sure to drain your beef if you have a lot of fat in the pan. Add in the spices, and saute for an additional minute. Add in everything else except for the salt, bring the mixture to a bubble over medium-high heat, then cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. I cooked mine for an hour and a half on medium-low, then I tasted for salt. I used two cups of water, and found it was a bit thinner than I wanted so the last 10 minutes of cooking I left the lid off so it could reduce. The chili also thickened as it cooled. I really wish I would have had Greek yogurt and green onions on hand to top this off, but we just did a sprinkle of shredded cheddar. This feeds an army! I had 13 cups of chili, and ended up freezing some of it. Hope you enjoy!
Per serving (1.5 cups of chili): 264 calories, 28 grams net carbohydrates, 5 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein.
This can also be made in a slow cooker. I would however recommend sauteing at least the beef before dumping this into the slow cooker, raw ground beef in the slow cooker is just weird to me because it's harder to control the amount of fat. I used 85% lean beef, so I didn't need to drain the meat, but you might. So you can saute the beef and onion, add everything to the slow cooker and I would just slightly reduce the amount of water to about 1/2 cup, then let it simmer on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.