Chili is without doubt a classic American dish. More specifically, an American Southwestern dish. It has all the flavor and characters of multiple ethnicities, including spice of Mexican spices, American beef, and so many other influences.  There are numerous competitions to see who makes the best, and of course there are more secrets and secret recipes than anyone could probably document.  The important thing is to gather the basics, adjust to your own tastes, and make it your own.

You can really use any combination of at least 2 beans here. I experiment all the time, but I think its best with small red and black beans.


  • 1 pound fresh ground beef, 80% lean / 20% fat
  • 1 can small red beans
  • 1 can black beans beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small flame or orange pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Better than Bullion beef broth plus 2.5 cups of water
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeño slice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 dried bay leaf (torn in half)
  • 1 ounce apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Start by using a heavy bottom pot like a Dutch oven.

Gently heat the olive oil and add the chopped garlic, chopped onion, and pepper. Allow that to get soft and translucent.

Next raise the heat but don’t crank it and start browning the ground beef. Continue to stir until its fully brown.

You can deglaze with some apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if you wish, white wine works just as well.

Next add in the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Once its all mixed in thoroughly, add beef broth and water, and bring to a simmer.  Add in the beans.  It is going to look soupy but now you wait for at least 2.5 hours.  Keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally.  Add in the light brown sugar about a half hour before you are finished cooking. It should be just slightly sweet, not overly sweet.

From there you can do whatever you love to do with chili. Eat it plain right from a cup or bowl; serve it as a dip with tortilla chips, as a topping on a hot dog or even serve with rice.

This is my favorite way… I put it in a crock, top it with cheese, put it under the broiler for a few minutes and serve with tortilla chips, guacamole and whatever else you like.  Hey, it took 3 hours to cook enjoy it, and it is even better as leftovers!