I love chili. To me, it’s the perfect fall-comfort-gathering food. And know there are a million different ways to prepare and serve chili, but I thought you might want to try out my recipe. This recipe, originally came from my good friend, Sarah. She got married, and therefore was cooking, much earlier in life than I did. I always loved her recipe, so when Mr. Right finally came around, I asked her to be my maid of honor and give me her chili recipe. She kindly agreed to both requests. And over the years, as I’ve developed my own cooking style, I’ve changed up the recipe to better suit our specific tastes.
Let me just say that some food is beautiful and/or easy to take pictures of. Chili is not one of those foods. It’s kinda ugly and it’s hard to photograph. So please forgive my photos (I think I did 3 separate photo sessions before simply giving up). Maybe one day I’ll learn the secret to photographing a bowl of chili.
This recipe is super simple–you cook up your meat, then throw your meat and everything else into a crock pot for a few hours. So simple.
- 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or beef, your preference)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 tblsp olive oil (leave out if using ground beef)
- 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 8oz jar of salsa
- 2 cups frozen corn (or 15oz can of corn)
- 1 cup black olives, sliced
- 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2-4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Heat olive oil in pan; add onion and garlic, and saute about 2 minutes; add ground meat and cook until nearly done. Transfer ground meat to a crock pot; add remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Heat on high for at least 2 hours.
OR…After meat is cooked, stir in tomatoes, salsa, corn, olives, sugar, chili powder and cinnamon; heat to boiling; cover & simmer 1 hour. Stir in beans; heat to boiling; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Transfer to crock pot until ready to serve.
Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, chips, avocado, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
Tips & Notes
One of the great things about chili is that you can add or remove remove ingredients based on the taste preference of you and your guests. For example, when it’s just me and Mr. K, I make my chili just a little bit spicy and throw in a can of black olives. But when my brother is visiting, we leave out the black olives and make it less spicy because his intestines just don’t handle the spice all that well (sorry if that was TMI).
Typically I double this recipe, simply because it’s easy to do and then we eat off of it for a few days (which means I don’t have to think about lunches). It also freezes well. When I do double it, one of my cans of diced tomatoes will usually have peppers in it. Just for some added kick. Other ways to add or reduce the amount of heat in this recipe include monitoring the amount of chili powder you use and choosing an appropriately heated salsa. Obviously, a spicy salsa will make for a spicy chili.
Sometimes I’ll add salt & pepper and/or chili powder to the meat when I’m cooking it. Sometimes I’ll throw in a couple extra cloves of garlic. It really just depends on my mood at the time. Like I said above, chili is one of those really flexible dishes that you can do a variety of things to depending on your mood, cravings, and pantry stock.
So now you have it: my go-to recipe for group meals. Pretty much any time we have family visiting or a bigger group of friends coming to hang out, this is what I’ll prepare. It’s inexpensive, easy to make, and loved by all.
I’m always looking to improve my recipes. What are some items you add to your chili recipes?
See where I party!