What Is Chilli?
“Chilli Con Carne”, (meaning a spicy stew with meat) is the actual name for what we mostly have shortened to call “Chilli”. This has become a popular traditional dish in America but is believed to have been originated from Mexico or Texas.
A typical pot of chilli usually consists of ground beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans or pinto beans, chilli peppers or powder, and a variation of different seasonings. It can also be made vegetarian by omitting the meat.
When ready to serve, there are a variety of different toppings that is suitable to use according to your preference. Some popular toppings are diced onions, diced tomatoes, guacamole, shredded mild cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions or whatever else you may like. Some people also eat nachos on the side or one of my favorite cornbread.
My first taste of Chili honestly was in elementary school from the cafeteria. We all know that “school food” always has a bad rap, however, I must say, for at least me and my siblings, there were a few meals that we really loved.
One that stood out for me was the school chili. In those days, I remember they used to serve it with just a little white rice. Since then, I have obviously tasted and started to make my own version of what I would consider good classic chili.
Ingredients for Classic Chilli
- Ground Beef – This is what I usually recommend or sometimes I mix ground beef and pork. Some people may also use regular beef cuts, but traditional chilli is best with ground meat in my opinion.
- Garlic, Onions, and Green Peppers – minced, These natural seasonings will enhance the flavor of your chilli.
- Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste or diced Tomatoes – I personally like to use a combination of all 3, but some people may choose to use one or another.
- Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans or Chilli Beans – I like to use a combination of at least 2 beans or sometimes 3. The type of beans you really use is a choice of preference. When making for my kids, I may use less kidney beans and add baked beans to suit their taste.
- Fresh Thyme Leaves
- Black Pepper
- Chilli Powder
- Garlic Salt
- Seasoned Salt
The ingredients sound like a lot , but it is still basically easy as most ingredients are added at once and left to cook.
Preparation Steps for Classic Chilli
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1. Crumble ground meat – into a non-stick skillet (no oil necessary), turn on heat to medium-high. Once pan starts getting hot and meat starts browning, using a fork keep stirring and crushing meat so it stays in crumbled pieces. Keep doing this until no longer pink.
2. Drain – drain all excess liquid from the meat. Add meat to a large deep pot.
3. Set up all ingredients – Prepare all ingredients as instructed and set aside.
4. Combine – After browning the mince and draining it, you pretty much just add everything else at once to the pot to simmer for about 1 hour on low heat, stirring every couple of minutes until cooked.
I always make cornbread to go with my chili, which I will post that recipe shortly (also delicious). And of course I still like a small spoon of rice under my chili and always top with shredded cheese, minced onions or scallion and sour cream.
As everyone may like different toppings, we just separate all toppings and each person arranges their chili bowl to their preference. Once we cook a big pot of Chili, it is one of those few dishes my family and I will eat a couple meals from and if there is left overs, we freeze it for another time within a 2 week period.
It does freeze well, but I am not a fan of eating leftovers too far gone. Another thing I do with my Chili is sometimes mix ground beef and ground pork. I hope you will try this and find it as enjoyable as we do.
- 3/4 Lb. Ground Beef
- 3/4 Lb. Ground Pork
- 6 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 cup Onions minced
- 1/4 cup Green Pepper minced
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 30 oz. Tomatoe Sauce or 15 oz. diced tomatoes and 15 oz sauce
- 6 oz. Tomatoe Paste
- 24 oz. Water
- 15 oz. Red Kidney Beans or white - Cannellini Beans - drained
- 15 oz. Pinto or Chili Beans drained
- 1-1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Garlic Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 1/4 cup Chili Powder
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano or fresh
- **1/2 tsp. Ground Cayenne optional for spiciness
Open up all canned products and set aside.
Heat a large skillet on high heat. Crumble ground beef in there and cook, stirring and crushing with fork until no longer pink. Drain and add to a deep, large pot.
Place all other ingredients in pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Check every 5-10 minutes and stir.
Season to taste.
In the meantime, you can prepare sides of choice or make cornbread if using.