We’ll try to avoid arguments by saying this recipe is probably not the definitive chili recipe — but then, what is? That battle is still being hard-fought at chili fests and contests throughout the world.
But, this chili is straightforward — scented with a little oregano and chipotle chili, if you wish. We can personally vouch for its satisfying, come-back-for-more flavor. Beans? You know, that’s your choice.
Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef (we use 92 percent lean, regular grind)
1 medium onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (whole leaf)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (don’t get the kind flavored with basil)
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, squished by hand or whirled in food processor, with liquid
1 dried chipotle chile (leave this out if worried about heat factor)
Chili Seasoning of your choice (we like Williams Original Chili Seasoning). Use one packet for mild, two for extra flavor.
1 15-ounce can pinto beans (if desired)
Salt, to taste
Grated yellow cheese (longhorn or mild cheddar)
More chopped, raw onion
Put the vegetable oil into a heavy bottomed pot and warm it up. Add ground beef and break it up with a large spoon and cook until it starts to brown. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook together until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Add the tomato sauce and 1 can of water, the can of whole tomatoes, processed by hand or food processor, the chipotle chili, oregano and chili seasoning blend. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour or more. When the meat is tender, drain the liquid from the beans and add, if you want beans. Let it heat another 15 minutes or so. Before serving, take out the chipotle chile and discard, or chop it up and add back to the chili.
To serve, ladle into bowls and top with cheese and onion, as desired.
Makes 8-10 servings
Adapted from Williams Chili con Carne recipe