College football is on TV and there’s a pot of chili simmering on the stove—I am in my happy place. Ironically, I loathed chili when I was growing up; as an adult, I can’t get enough. While I’ll happily dig into a bowl anytime of year, chili is something I always associate with the fall. It’s the perfect food for brisk evenings, blustery tailgates, and post-trick-or-treating feasts.
I have tried many chili recipes; this one happens to be my favorite. The original version can be found in Jamie Deen’s Good Food, but I’ve tinkered with it over the years to make it my own. My husband and I enjoy a little more heat, so I added crushed red pepper flakes and a jalapeño (with seeds and veins). On another occasion, I incorporated a can of corn I happened to have on hand, and loved the sweetness and bright pop of color it added. My favorite recipe for taco meat includes ground coriander, so I thought, “What the hell? I’ll try it with the other spices.” The addition produced a wonderful, citrusy-herbaceous note.
This recipe feeds a crowd, but if you’re only serving a few, it makes excellent leftovers and freezes beautifully. I usually like to eat my chili with some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and homemade pickled jalapeños with tortilla chips, but friends from Ohio introduced me to the idea of substituting cooked macaroni for the chips—it is really good! I definitely recommend trying it!
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, quartered and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) sweet corn, drained
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz beer, preferably a German-style lager
Shredded cheddar cheese for serving (optional
Sour cream for serving (optional)
Pickled jalapeños for serving (optional)
Tortilla chips for serving (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Once it’s shimmering and easily coats the surface of the pot, add the onions, peppers, and celery. Sauté the vegetable mixture until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic to the pot and sauté until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Push the vegetable mixture to the sides of the pot, leaving the center exposed. Place the ground beef in the center of the pot. Crumble the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Gradually begin stirring the vegetables into the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
4. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper to the mix. Stir to combine.
5. Add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir to thoroughly distribute it throughout the meat-vegetable mixture.
6. Pour the diced tomatoes and their juices into the pot, followed by the corn, the beans, and the beer. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and tortilla chips.
Deen, Jamie, Goto, Andrea, Beaudry, Brianna. “World’s Best Chili,” Jamie Deen’s Good Food. Kyle Books: London, 2013. Page 42.