Beef chili

Last year at Christmas, I thought I was going to win “best girlfriend award” for getting my boyfriend Islanders tickets.

I printed them out and put them in a card and waited eagerly for him to open it. And he was really excited! That is, until he looked at when the game was.

img_1576“You bought us tickets for Sunday February 7th? Callie…that’s the Super Bowl…”


I mean, how was I to know?? Despite being roughly the same weekend every year (or is it actually the same weekend? Am I supposed to know this?), the Super Bowl is simply not on my radar.


Personally I was all like, “Who cares if we miss the first half?” but the Panthers are Mark’s team so as you might imagine, I lost that battle and we took a raincheck on the hockey game.

(As an aside, it ended up being a pretty great night for me even if the Panthers lost, sorry Mark, because I discovered just how great Javelina’s tacos are. They are extremely great.)

But back to the point, I would never even once pretend that I watch the Super Bowl for the game. That would just be patently untrue.

img_1578Most years I don’t even know who’s playing until the day of. And while I used to say that I watched it for the ads which, you know, can be interesting, that’s not quite the case either.

The truth, unsurprising though it may be, is that I watch the Super Bowl and attend Super Bowl parties for the food.

Despite growing up in a mostly female household where my dad watched football alone in the kitchen, I love football food.


Wings? Give me some. I’ll put Frank’s red hot on almost anything. Guac? I’m your girl. Any kind of baked cheesy dip? Totally my jam pre-dairy allergy.

(Speaking of…a completely unoriginal but delicious spinach artichoke dip and a rant on casseroles coming soon!)

And chili. Chili really is the best. My friend recently noted that chili and cornbread remind her of being a kid on the weekends and it’s true. Chili is the warm, comforting taste of weekend-in-a-bowl.


I like a good chicken chili and even a veggie chili be it hearty enough, but there’s just nothing like a traditional beef chili.

I’m not going to get into the whole Texas-chili-is-the-only-chili-why-are-you-putting-beans-in-there debate. This is a safe space for those of you who like their chili packed with beans and veggies and…gasp…jarred tomato sauce.


Smitten Kitchen’s beef chili falls into the latter camp and it’s great. It’s definitely meat-heavy and chunky as opposed to brothy but the proportions can be adjusted as you see fit. It involves throwing things in a pot to do their magic and the flavor is rich and satisfying.

And for all you fellow football atheists out there  – it will get you through to halftime.


Beef chili
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Note: As mentioned above, this chili is very meaty. If you want more broth you can achieve that in a number of ways. You could lower the amount of ground beef to 2 pounds – I didn’t try this. Or, as I did, you can increase the amount of beef broth as indicated below. Next time, I’d also add proportionally more tomato sauce too.

Yields about 6 servings

2 medium onions, chopped, or 3 cups
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots diced
3 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
16 ounces tomato sauce either from a jar, a can or tomato purée, plus more as needed
1 1/4 cups to 2 cups beef broth, depending on how brothy you like your chili
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 19-ounce can kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green bell peppers, chopped

To top:
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Pickled jalapeños

In a large pot (Deb used 5-quarts), heat the oil over medium low heat and cook the onions for 5 to 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another minute.

Then, raise the heat to medium and add the beef, cooking and breaking into pieces until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add 16 ounces tomato sauce, 1 and 1/4 cups broth and all the vinegar and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes. At this point you can add more tomato sauce and beef broth if you’d like a more brothy chili. Then, add the kidney beans, bell peppers, pepper and salt to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until the bell peppers are tender.

Serve hot with cornbread and your favorite toppings.

Beef chili:

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