When we dared to create the perfect basic chili recipe, we knew the stakes were high. Attempting to top grandma’s chili means treading into dangerous territory—so, we punched up the classic formula (ground beef, spices, red kidney beans, and tomatoes) with our own fresh tweaks.
Our easy chili is hearty, comforting, and wholesome—plus it significantly slashes calories, fat, and sodium from the classic recipe.Smoked paprikaand a splash of beer kick up the flavor, and our clever trick for perfectly browned ground beef would surely make any grandmother proud. Instead of overcrowding the Dutch oven, we brown the beef separately in a large skillet.
Master this recipe—then customize it however you like. Swap out kidney beans for black beans, pinto beans, or a combination of all three. Instead of ground sirloin, use ground turkey or ground bison meat. Don’t forgetchili toppings—we love fresh cilantro,queso frescocheese, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, sliced radishes, or a squeeze of lime.
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds lean ground sirloin
2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces amber lager (such as Negra Modela or Dos Equis Amber Lager)
2 15.5-ounce cans no salt added dark red kidney beans
2 28-ounce cans no salt added whole peeled tomatoes
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the oil, swirling to coat the skillet. Add ground beef, and cook until browned (drain fat if needed), about 6 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil, then add the onions and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spices, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Note* Now I used pinto beans and I browned my beef in same dutch oven; I want the flavor from bottom of pot from browning beef. Like the recipe says…customize it whatever way you like 😉🌶
I didn’t go with slow cooker only because I wanted browning of beef, results that come from cast iron cooking.
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