This hearty chili is stick to your ribs delicious and just plain awesome! Perfect for those comfort food nights, game day fare and large family gatherings. This is exactly how I love my chili – meaty, smoky, not too salty, a little sweet and with a kick! This recipe is a tried and true southern chili recipe given to me by a dear friend from Jacksonville, FL many, many years ago. I’ve added measurements over the years and slightly adapted for my family.
Before you get started, measure out all the spices, open the tomato cans and have the beans rinsed and drained. Start by coating a large and wide pot with olive oil over medium to high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant.
Add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon as you combine with the onions and garlic. A wooden spoon works best because it’s rigid. Add in all the spices and stir to combine.
Break up the whole tomatoes directly over the pot, crushing each one in your hands. Remove the core as you see in the picture. Add tomato puree (not sauce). Add the chicken stock and water to the large whole tomato can and pour the liquid back and forth a few times from one tomato can to the other tomato puree can – this will pick up all the tomato goodness remaining in the cans. Add that liquid to the pot.
Shown below are the various pantry staple items to make this recipe in a snap. I like Pinto and Small Red Bean – I don’t like Kidney beans, I find them hard to chew and digest. If you like Kidney beans, by all means use the beans you have and like. It’s also important you use tomato puree and not paste and San Marzano tomatoes are my tomatoes of choice. Any other whole tomato will also work.
Add the rinsed and drained beans and stir to combine. If you want a little heat, add it now. You can add green chiles, red pepper flakes or Tabasco sauce. Remember it’s easier to add than to remove so my recommendation is to go light and serve some hot sauce on the side with the toppings.
Bring it all to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat. Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours so the flavors marry. Best when slow cooked up to 4 hours. If making in a crockpot, brown the meat on a skillet and add to a crockpot along with all the other ingredients. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Tip: If your chili is too thick, thin the sauce with a little water.
This is perfect comfort food that’s an easy and satisfying one pot meal. Leave a comment below, let me know if you made it.
Darn Good Southern Chili
A classic hearty southern chili recipe made with beef, beans, blend of spices in a rich and flavorful tomato base. Simple, homemade, comforting. Perfect one pot meal for the whole family. Freezes well, too!
- about 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil a few times around the pot
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 lbs. ground beef prefer sirloin as not to drain fat
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 ½ Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand (core removed)
- 1 10.75-ounce can tomato puree
- 10 ounces chicken stock
- 5 ounces water
- 1 16-ounce can Pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15.5-ounce can small red beans, rinsed and drained not kidney beans
- 1 4.5-ounce can chopped mild green chiles / red pepper flakes / Tabasco sauce optional if you want some heat
- sliced scallions (green onions)
- chopped raw yellow onion
- shredded cheese prefer Tillamook Mexican 4 Cheese
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
- crispy crumbled bacon
- pico de gallo
Add olive oil to a wide, large pot and place it over medium to high heat for a minute. When the oil is shimmering, add the diced yellow onion. It should sizzle on contact. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until the corners begin to caramelize.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the minced garlic. Stir frequently so the garlic doesn't burn for a minute until fragrant.
Add the meat and using a wooden spoon, break up the meat as you stir, ensuring the onion and garlic are well incorporated. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Note: Because I used a lean beef, I didn't need to drain any fat. Depending on your cut of beef, you may need to drain some fat. It's easier to break up the meat with a wooden spoon instead of a flexible rubber spatula.
Add all the seasonings at once – chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, granulated sugar, kosher salt and white pepper. Stir well to combine. The meat will get a deep color from all the spices.
Crush the San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes in your hands over the pot. Remove the hard core at the end, and add the juice. Add the tomato puree and stir to combine.
In order to pick up all the tomato goodness left in the cans, add the chicken stock and water into the large can and pour the liquid back and forth between the two tomato cans a few times. Add that liquid into the pot.
Add the beans and stir all the ingredients until they are well combined and at a steady simmer. Cover and lower the temperature to a low bubbling simmer. Cook at least for 1 ½ hours, stirring about every 15 minutes, so the flavors marry. The longer the flavors marry, the better the chili. See Note below.
Note: If you want some heat, add the green chiles/red pepper flakes or Tabasco to taste after you add in the beans. For me 1 small can of green chiles is perfect.
Serve with a variety of toppings including extra hot sauce.
Cooking Note: My friend cooks this low and slow up to 4 hours. If it’s a little dry, add a little extra water to loosen up the sauce. According to her the longer it sits, the better. You can also make this in a crockpot. Follow the steps up to browning the meat. Transfer to crockpot and add all the other ingredients. Mix well, cover and cook for 4 -6 hours on low.
Freezes Well: I like to store leftovers in a Ziploc freezer bag once it’s completely cooled. Remove all the air and freeze flat. Keeps for a few months. Date the Ziploc bag so you know when you froze it. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and either warm up on the stove top or microwave oven.