Posted by: thewoobdog | January 21, 2013

Random Recipe Monday

Yes, I know Wednesdays have traditionally been Random Recipe day, but the whole point of the “random” nomenclature is so I don’t have to be consistent (and you thought the “random” only applied to the recipe part of things – HA).

Yesterday I made my mom’s chili recipe (one of my favorite go-to winter recipes), and it’s just so darn good I thought I’d share it.  I have no illusions about how good other people will think it is – chili is like tuna salad or deviled eggs,* you tend to like what you grew up with and any other flavor profiles are offensive to your sense of what that food should be (not to mention the fact that any self-respecting Texan would lynch me for daring to use beans in chili) – but everyone I’ve ever served this to has loved it, so here’s how we do chili at my house:

JunieBMom’s Chili (serves 6 – 8, depending on appetites) 

1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93/7 yesterday, but I’ve also used 90/10, or ground turkey breast, or buffalo, or Morningstar Farms meatless crumbles, or a combination of any of the above)

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 can Bush’s Chili Magic Traditional chili starter (ok, I know she didn’t use this when I was a kid, and I know you can make it without it, you just have to add more chili powder and cumin, so if the thought of a canned chili starter offends you don’t use it – you may want to add more beans if you don’t, though)

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes (or 1 28 oz can)

2 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, drained but with liquid reserved

chili powder, to taste (I use an unholy amount of this – probably at least 2-3 Tbsp)

cumin, to taste (again, I use a LOT of cumin – I probably start with 2 Tbsp and go from there, but you might want to start smaller and adjust up)

salt, to taste (I add salt after the other spices – usually only 1/4 – 1/2 tsp – because it makes the cumin and chili powder really pop)

Brown ground beef (or what-have-you) in a 6-quart stockpot (if using crockpot, see variation below) with onion and bell pepper.  Add chili starter, tomatoes, and kidney beans, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for at least an hour.  Add spices to taste; serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.  Note: This can cook all day, but if you are planning to simmer it for more than an hour, wait to add the beans until the final hour (you can also add the spices in the final hour if simmering for a long period).  Use the reserved liquid from the beans to adjust the consistency of your chili. 

CROCKPOT VARIATION: Brown beef, onion, and bell pepper in large skillet; transfer to crockpot and add chili starter and tomatoes.  Cook on low at least four hours and up to eight hours.  Add kidney beans and spices in final hour of cooking; adjust consistency with reserved liquid from beans.

It gets better each successive day after cooking and also freezes well. 

*I mention these because I grew up eating dill pickles in my tuna salad and deviled eggs, whereas my husband grew up eating sweet pickles in his tuna salad and deviled eggs.  I personally find sweet tuna salad and sweet deviled eggs revolting because [in my totally subjective experience] that is NOT what they are supposed to taste like.  It’s like the mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip debate – you can’t win with logic because tastebuds and food preferences are shaped by childhood, not reason (and for the record, MAYONNAISE ALL THE WAY, BABY).



  1. Sweet tuna salad and sweet deviled eggs ARE revolting.

    • As is biting into a delicious sandwich only to realize that what you thought was mayonnaise is instead the unholy abomination that is Miracle Whip… *shudder*

      • Oh, the humanity!

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