Classic Beef Chili

Friday 27 October 2017

With the colder days and nights comes the desire and need for warming soups, stews and comfort food types of meals.  Meals like a Classic Beef Chili are the order of the day, especially when the wind is howling at your door and rain is pelting against the window glass!

My mother discovered a recipe for Chili Con Carne when I was in high school and it became her Saturday night go to meal for years and years and years.  It was a recipe she got off of a tin of tomato soup and my father liked it, so it stuck. My father never liked my mother using a lot of spices and herbs.  He had very simple tastes. He was quite fussy actually so when my mother discovered  anything even a tiny bit out of the ordinary that he liked, she flew with it.

This recipe today is a simple beef chili, sized perfectly just for the two of us . . . actually I think it might feed three small eaters . . . but it certainly feeds just two generously. With just as much flavour as a full sized recipe might have, it goes down a real treat on a cold day.  Todd likes his with crusty bread . . .  I am happy with crackers.

We both like cheese on top.   Its hearty and thick  . . .  and perfectly spiced.  Not too hot, but not too mild either  . . .

It uses simple ingredients I always have in my store cupboard . . . tinned beans, tomatoes, passata . . .  fresh onions and peppers . . . and some extra lean ground beef.  I never buy regular ground beef. Its a false economy to buy meat that is so filled with fat that half of it gets poured away . . .

In fact sometimes I use finely minced steak and its even better.  With me its a texture thing.  I am not overly fond of mince meat. When I was a child my mother could not get me to eat minced beef at all . . .  I was an expert at picking it out of everything . . .  and hiding it under placemants, carpets, inside heat vents,  when nobody was looking, etc. It made me gag. I hated it . . .  absolutely hated it.

Thankfully I've out grown that dislike,  it doesn't make me gag anymore, but then I only buy extra lean and good quality.  I hate getting a piece of bone or gristle in my mouth . . .  still.   Anyways, back to the chili.

This recipe is delicious and perfectly sized for just two.  You could serve more by doubling the ingredients if you wish.   With crusty bread, or crackers, cheese on top or not, it goes down a real treat.

*Classic Beef Chili*
Serves 2
A delicious scaled down version of an old favourite which feeds two people generously! 

1 TBS vegetable oil
1 small brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 each red and yellow (or green) bell pepper, chopped
2 TBS mild chili powder
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed chilies
(or to taste)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
340g extra lean ground beef, crumbled (12 ounces)
1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained (14.5 ounce tin)
1 (400g) tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed (14.5 ounce tin)
200g pack of tomato passata (8 ounces) (tomato sauce)
60ml water (1/4 cup) if needed 

To serve: (optional)
grated cheddar cheese
sour cream 

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Add the onion, peppers, garlic, spices and herbs.  Cook, stirring over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and the whole mixture is very fragrant.  Crumble in the ground beef.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is no longer pink and is beginning to brown.  Add the chopped tomatoes, along with their juice, drained beans, tomato passata and water if needed. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce to low  and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes.  If it begins to catch on the bottom, you can add a bit of water.  Continue to cook for a futher 15 minutes until the meat it completely tender and the chili is nicely thickened.  Adjust seasoning as necessary and serve, spooned into hot bowls with some grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top if desired.

It is chili in its simplest, purest, unadulterated form.  It would not win a chili cook-off I am sure, but it is perfect for just us.  Bon Appetit! 


  1. Love chili.and I love how it can serve a crowd if you need it to..for moving days..etc:)We never had it growing up..
    I add vinegar:) And canned niblets now.

    1. Corn is a great addition Monique, I also like black beans! I used to make a fab vegetarian one when the kids were growing up with chick peas, beans, baby corn, carrots, etc. It was fabulous! I haven't made it in a while. Probably because it makes a lot! xoxo

  2. I made this for supper tonight - thanks for the idea. I added some cocoa powder to it as well. It was good! Sara

    1. Great addition Sara! This is one of those fab classic recipes that you can play with and truly make your own! xo


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