win-the-cookoff chili

everybody makes chili. everybody loves chili. but this chili, mom's chili, is the chili you're going to win the cookoff with (and it has won several, in several states.) it's hearty and rich and has great flavor. mom doesn't measure, but i grew up on this chili and i carefully measured until the flavors were just right so i could get this recipe written down. perfect with a big green salad and sweet buttermilk cornbread with whipped honey butter. below the recipe are some really yummy leftover ideas.

win-the-cookoff chili
recipe from shellee v. (mom.)

4 cans kidney beans, undrained*
or 1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender, with cooking liquid
1 pound ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper or jalapeno, chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 quarts tomatoes with juice (or two big 28 oz cans)
1 big (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon allspice (the secret ingredient!)1 bay leaf

In a large stockpot, cook ground beef, onion, and green pepper till meat is brown. Drain fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, allspice and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover, simmer at least 45 minutes, until reduced and thickened, or cook in Crock Pot on low for 3-5 hours (for the crock pot, omit juice from one jar of tomatoes.) taste before serving, add a sprinkle of salt or sugar as needed.

* mom makes this in mahusive amounts and always freezes half. this recipe makes enough for my family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) to eat three or four meals worth (chili, hot potatoes, and quick taco salads, which makes it a really economical meal that stretches through the week.)

*also yummy with some pinto beans thrown in the mix.

*use leftover chili to make:
baked potatoes with chili and toppings,
or Quick Taco Salads with Kicked-Up Southwestern Ranch, a big green salads with chili, cheese, toppings and crushed tortilla strips.


  1. I have one question about the beans. Can I use pinto instead of kidney? I have issues with kidney beams stemming back to childhood! :) I love the allspice secret!!!

  2. funny rae. i suppose you could~ although i can't guarantee any wins that way. :) you'll have to let me know if it turns out! (really, not even just one can of kidneys?) if it's a texture issue, try the light red dry beans. they are softer.

  3. i meant.
    light red kidney beans, soak and cook. (if anybody needs help with how to cook dry beans, see my how-to-beans post.)

  4. yum, that looks awesome! Stumbled it. :)

  5. thanks for sharing your secret!! i'll bet this is the best chili ever! can't wait to make it! can you just come live at my house??? i'll buy whatever you need to cook!

  6. looks yummy... can't wait to give it a try. One question... the instructions say add garlic-- how much garlic?


  7. jan, feel free to season your ground beef with some garlic if you like~ i don't usually add it to chili. fixed the typo, thanks!




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