Simple Chili Con Carne

This is our favorite chili, loosely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s tomato-y, beefy, and a great way to get the kids to eat some veggies. We add one unusual ingredient – beer – and it gives the chili a deep, rich flavor. (The alcohol burns off as the chili cooks.) We usually serve it with whatever condiments we have on hand, and with this whole-grain cornbread.

Simple Chili con Carne - The Sweet Road

Simple Chili Con Carne
Recipe type: Entrees, Beef, Soups
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
Loosely adapted from Cook's Illustrated
  • Olive or vegetable oil (about 2 TBSP)
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 TBSP)
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can beer
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 boxes (or cans) of tomato puree (28 oz each)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Condiments: Lime wedges, diced raw onion, avocado, sour cream or Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese
  1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, beef, bell peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander; cook until beef is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in beer and bring to a boil to start burning off the alcohol.
  2. Add beans, tomato puree, bay leaf, and ½ tsp salt. Bring to another boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer another hour, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender and chili is thickened. If chili begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add ½ cup of water and stir in, continuing to simmer. Taste chili and add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with desired condiments.


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  • Wow this looks hearty and filling and tasty, especially for our rainy cold Oregon winter coming up. Yum!!!