Recipe: Simple Beef Chili

Elspeth Hay

Elspeth Hay › Elspeth Hay works with local food in a variety of mediums. She's the creator of the ...


You are probably pondering the following questions… and beef chili just might be your answer.

Have you already hit your yearly quota for turkey and are craving something different, but still comforting? Do you have a home full of holiday guests, but a dwindling supply of leftovers to keep them fed? Are you tapped out in the cooking department and want a recipe that calls for the occasional stir of the spoon?

Beef chili.

Elspeth Hay’s recipe for beef chili requires just a pinch of effort – and a good bit of unattended simmering time – to produce a comforting meal with a lot of flavor. Hay’s beef chili starts with a base of freshly charred hot peppers, giving it a boost of depth and just enough heat to satisfy most palates. Most of the other ingredients should be on hand in your freezer or pantry.

This chili is perfect for feeding holiday weekend guests en masse, especially with a side of cornbread and a spread of different toppings for everyone to customize their bowl. You can prep a colorful spread of toppings, like: chopped scallions, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh or pickled jalapeño peppers, and diced fresh tomatoes. Setting up a “chili bar” allows everyone to feed themselves, when and how they like. Perfect.


1 tablespoon lard, olive oil, or butter
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
3 jalapeños or other mild hot peppers, charred, seeded, and chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle
1 pound ground beef
1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 quart crushed tomatoes, preferably homemade
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked kidney beans
Sea salt to taste


Warm up the cooking fat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, for about five minutes, or until they start to get soft.

Add the peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and chipotle and cook another few minutes, until the spices are fragrant.

Add the ground beef and cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is just cooked through.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and beans, and taste. Season with salt as needed.

Bring everything to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about half an hour to let the tomatoes and broth cook down and the flavors come together.

Serve hot, with the usual accompaniments.

This recipe originally appeared on Diary of a Locavore. It is partially posted here with permission of the author.

Photo Credit: Elspeth Hay

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