Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A First-Timer's Guide to Making Chili

This weekend - when the weather outside was cold and dreary - I decided I needed chili. The perfect fall-time comfort food. Now, I'm fairly certain that if I would have driven home, either my mother or grandmother would have happily made chili for me, but I decided to give it a go on my own. Relying on advice from both of them, I gathered up my ingredients and brought the Crock-Pot down from the shelf.

Step 1: Browning the hamburger.
Step 2: Combining with all of the other ingredients in the Crock-Pot.
Step 3: Simmering to perfection.
Ta-dah! Homemade chili with a grilled cheese sandwich.
Honestly, I was expecting it to be a bit harder. But once you have it all in the Crock-Pot, it's just a matter of waiting until it's ready. The grilled cheese sandwich wasn't anything fancy but just the way my mom made it when we were kids: butter two sides of one slice of bread, put it in the frying pan, add a slice or two of American cheese, butter one side of a second slice of bread, place bread butter side up on top of cheese, fry until golden brown and deliciously gooey.

And the chili was still fantastic on day two for lunch with sour cream and shredded colby-jack cheese.
Still up this week: chili cheese dogs :) I'm looking forward to more opportunities to perfect my chili recipe this winter - with garlic at the top of the list of ingredients to add. Feel free to pass along any other recommendations.

Chili Recipe
2 lbs. hamburger
chopped red onion (approx. 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 large cans whole or crushed tomatoes
2 large cans tomato sauce
2 or 3 cans dark red kidney beans
chili powder (to taste)

Brown hamburger and onion with salt and pepper in large frying pan. Scoop hamburger into Crock-Pot. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, cut to desired size) and kidney beans. Add 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder. Cook on medium/low heat for one to two hours, stirring occasionally. Add additional chili powder to taste. Depending on time constraints, try simmering for several hours for added flavor.


  1. It looks great, and sounds so good this time of year. I think people assume cooking is harder than it really is. I'm glad you tried it on your own!


  2. Thanks! I totally agree that people - me included - sometimes assume cooking is harder than it really is. I'm pleasantly surprised when I'm wrong, and further frustrated when I'm right (e.g. when I tried my hand at risotto).