The Best Chili Recipe

This Ultimate Chili Recipe is a classic stew with a complex mix of flavors and textures. The robust mix of ingredients makes this dish a hearty and satisfying meal. It's perfect for cozy nights in or for feeding a crowd during game nights or casual get-togethers.

The Best Chili Recipe
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This recipe calls for a few ingredients that may not be in everyone's pantry, such as pancetta, a type of Italian cured meat that adds a rich depth of flavor. Fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles, add a smoky zest. Chipotle chili in adobo sauce is a type of smoked jalapeno in a tangy, sweet sauce which contributes to the overall depth and complexity of this chili.

Ingredients for the Ultimate Chili Recipe

Pancetta: This Italian bacon adds a unique richness to your chili.

Ground beef: The main protein in the chili, this makes it hearty and filling.

Onion: Onion adds a sweet, caramelized flavor.

Red bell pepper: This gives a sweet and mild pepper flavor.

Jalapeno: Adds a spicy kick.

Garlic: Gives a bold and aromatic flavor.

Beer: Infuses the chili with a malty flavor.

Beef stock: Enhances the meaty flavor.

Fire roasted tomatoes: These tomatoes add a smoky flavor.

Beans: Beans provide a great source of fiber and make the chili more substantial.

Green chiles: These add a mild, tangy flavor.

Chipotle chili in adobo sauce: Adds smoky heat and complexity.

Chili powder: The main spice that gives the chili its distinctive taste.

Paprika: Adds mild sweetness and vibrant color.

Cumin: This spice adds a warm, earthy flavor.

One reader, Erv Atkins says:

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This chili recipe is a game-changer! The blend of flavors is outstanding, and the addition of pancetta gives it a unique twist. The perfect balance of heat and smokiness makes it a crowd-pleaser. It's my go-to recipe for gatherings, and the toppings take it to the next level. Highly recommended!

Erv Atkins

Techniques Required for Making the Ultimate Chili

How to sauté pancetta and ground beef: In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the ground beef and sauté until browned and cooked through, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of grease in the pot.

How to sauté vegetables: Add the onion, red pepper, and jalapeño to the stockpot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Then add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

How to deglaze the pot: After sautéing the vegetables, add the beer to the stockpot and use a wooden spoon to gently scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.

How to simmer chili: Once all the ingredients are combined, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer the chili for 20 minutes.

How to season the chili: Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Adjust the flavor by adding extra chili powder or cumin, if preferred.

How to serve: Serve the chili immediately, and offer a variety of toppings such as avocado, fresh cilantro, onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, and corn tortilla chips.

How To Make The Best Chili

Serve a filling stew with this loaded chili recipe made with pancetta, beef stock, beer, beans, and a couple more spices for a rich and spicy dish.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

Optional Toppings:

Instructions

    1. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    1. Add the ground beef and sauté until browned and cooked through, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked meat to a clean plate and set it aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of grease in the pot.
    1. Add the onion, red pepper, and jalapeño to the stockpot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    1. Add the beer to the stockpot, and use a wooden spoon to gently scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    1. Add the cooked beef and pancetta, beef stock, tomatoes, beans, green chiles, chipotle chili in adobo, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the chili reaches a simmer.
    1. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer the chili for 20 minutes.
    1. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Add in extra chili powder or cumin, if preferred.
    1. Serve immediately, piled high with all of your favorite toppings.

Nutrition

    • Calories: 409.02kcal
    • Fat: 27.56g
    • Saturated Fat: 10.01g
    • Trans Fat: 1.19g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.01g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.93g
    • Carbohydrates: 15.41g
    • Fiber: 4.17g
    • Sugar: 6.24g
    • Protein: 23.08g
    • Cholesterol: 82.14mg
    • Sodium: 894.65mg
    • Calcium: 76.91mg
    • Potassium: 840.53mg
    • Iron: 3.80mg
    • Vitamin A: 169.16µg
    • Vitamin C: 80.53mg

Technique Tip for Enhancing Your Chili

When browning the ground beef and pancetta, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. This allows the meat to brown evenly, developing a rich, deep flavor that will enhance the overall taste of the chili. If the pan is too crowded, the meat may steam instead of browning, which can result in a less flavorful dish. If necessary, brown the meat in batches to ensure each piece has enough space.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Chili

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all the ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use canned ingredients: Opt for canned beans, tomatoes, and chiles to save time on preparation.

One-pot wonder: Cook the chili in a single pot to minimize cleanup and save time.

Slow cooker option: Consider using a slow cooker to let the flavors meld while saving time on active cooking.

Freeze leftovers: Make a large batch and freeze individual portions for quick and convenient future meals.

Efficient chopping: Use a food processor to quickly chop the vegetables and save time on prep work.

Multi-task: While the chili simmers, use the time to prepare the optional toppings for serving.

Quick release: Utilize an electric pressure cooker for a speedy chili preparation without compromising flavor.

Substitute Ingredients For The Best Chili Recipe

  • pancetta - Substitute with bacon: Both are cured pork products with a similar smoky flavor, but bacon is more readily available and can be used as a substitute for pancetta in chili recipes.

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef and can be used as a healthier substitute in chili recipes without compromising on flavor.

  • white onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onions have a slightly stronger flavor than white onions, but they can be used interchangeably in chili recipes without significantly altering the taste.

  • red bell pepper - Substitute with green bell pepper: Green bell peppers can be used as a substitute for red bell peppers in chili recipes, providing a slightly different flavor profile but still adding a pleasant crunch and color.

  • jalapeno - Substitute with serrano pepper: Serrano peppers can be used as a substitute for jalapenos in chili recipes, offering a similar level of heat and flavor to spice up the dish.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: If fresh garlic is not available, garlic powder can be used as a substitute to add the desired garlic flavor to the chili.

  • beer - Substitute with beef broth: Beef broth can be used as a substitute for beer in chili recipes to add depth of flavor and richness to the dish without the alcohol content.

  • beef stock - Substitute with vegetable stock: Vegetable stock can be used as a substitute for beef stock in chili recipes, providing a lighter flavor while still enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

  • fire roasted tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fire roasted tomatoes, providing a similar texture and flavor to the chili.

  • beans - Substitute with lentils: Lentils can be used as a substitute for beans in chili recipes, offering a different texture and a good source of plant-based protein.

  • green chiles - Substitute with jalapenos: If green chiles are not available, jalapenos can be used as a substitute to add a similar level of heat and flavor to the chili.

  • chipotle chili in adobo sauce - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can be used as a substitute for chipotle chili in adobo sauce to add a smoky flavor to the chili.

  • chili powder - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can be used as a substitute for chili powder to add heat and spice to the chili recipe.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can be used as a substitute for paprika to add a smoky flavor to the chili.

  • cumin - Substitute with coriander: Coriander can be used as a substitute for cumin, providing a similar earthy and warm flavor to the chili.

  • sea salt - Substitute with kosher salt: Kosher salt can be used as a substitute for sea salt in chili recipes, providing a similar level of salinity to enhance the overall taste.

  • black pepper - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can be used as a substitute for black pepper to add heat and spice to the chili recipe.

How to Beautifully Present Your Chili

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the ultimate chili, focus on creating a visually stunning plate. Use a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the layers of flavors and textures in the chili.

  2. Garnish with fresh ingredients: Top the chili with freshly sliced avocado, vibrant cilantro leaves, and finely diced onions to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate texture: Sprinkle a few crushed corn tortilla chips over the chili to add a delightful crunch and elevate the overall dining experience.

  4. Balance the flavors: Ensure that the chili is seasoned perfectly and that the toppings complement the dish, enhancing the rich and robust flavors of the chili.

  5. Use high-quality serving ware: Present the chili in elegant, high-quality bowls that complement the rustic and hearty nature of the dish.

  6. Create a focal point: Arrange the toppings in an artful manner, drawing attention to the vibrant colors and enticing aromas of the chili.

  7. Consider the overall dining experience: Pay attention to the aroma, temperature, and presentation of the chili to ensure a memorable and delightful dining experience for the judges.

Essential Tools for Making the Perfect Chili

  • Chef's knife: A versatile tool used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients with precision.
  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Stockpot: Ideal for cooking large batches of chili and other soups or stews.
  • Wooden spoon: Perfect for stirring and mixing the chili while it simmers.
  • Slotted spoon: Useful for transferring the cooked meat and skimming off any excess fat.
  • Ladle: Essential for serving the chili into bowls.
  • Can opener: Needed to open cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and beans.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For accurately measuring out ingredients such as beer, beef stock, and spices.
  • Large stockpot: Used for sautéing the pancetta and cooking the chili.
  • Sauté pan: Used for sautéing the ground beef and vegetables.
  • Wooden spoon: Perfect for stirring and mixing the chili while it simmers.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile tool used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients with precision.
  • Cutting board: Provides a stable surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Can opener: Needed to open cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and beans.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For accurately measuring out ingredients such as beer, beef stock, and spices.

How To Store and Freeze Homemade Chili

  • Let the chili cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and potentially spoiling the chili.

  • To store in the refrigerator, transfer the cooled chili to an airtight container. It will keep well for up to 4-5 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze the chili in portion-sized containers or freezer bags. Here are two methods:

    • Method 1: Spoon the chili into freezer-safe containers, leaving about an inch of space at the top for expansion. Seal the containers tightly, label with the date, and freeze for up to 3 months.
    • Method 2: Ladle the chili into heavy-duty freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Lay the bags flat in the freezer and stack them once frozen. This method saves space and allows for quicker thawing.
  • To thaw frozen chili, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Alternatively, you can thaw it in the microwave using the defrost setting.

  • Reheat the thawed chili gently in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If the chili seems too thick, add a splash of beef broth or water to thin it out.

  • Avoid freezing chili with toppings like sour cream, cheese, or avocado. These ingredients don't freeze well and can affect the texture of the chili. Add fresh toppings after reheating the thawed chili.

How To Reheat Leftover Chili

  • The best way to reheat leftover chili is on the stovetop. Transfer the chili to a pot and heat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through. This method allows you to control the temperature and prevent the chili from burning or drying out.

  • Another option is to reheat the chili in the microwave. Place the chili in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters. Heat the chili in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it's heated through. Be careful not to overheat the chili, as it can cause the beans to become mushy and the meat to become tough.

  • If you have a lot of leftover chili, you can reheat it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the chili to an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. Heat the chili for 15-20 minutes, or until it's heated through. This method is great for reheating large portions of chili without drying it out.

  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your leftover chili, try adding some fresh toppings before reheating. Chopped cilantro, diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese, or a dollop of sour cream can all add some extra depth and complexity to the dish.

  • If your leftover chili has thickened up too much in the fridge, you can thin it out with a little bit of beef stock or water before reheating. This will help to loosen up the chili and make it easier to reheat evenly.

Random Fact About Chili

Chili is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer it spicy, mild, or loaded with toppings, there's a chili recipe out there for everyone.

Is Making Chili at Home Cost-Effective?

This chili recipe is cost-effective for a household. With affordable ingredients like ground beef, beans, and canned tomatoes, it offers a hearty and satisfying meal for a family of four. The use of pantry staples and versatile toppings makes it a budget-friendly option. The overall verdict rating for this recipe is 9/10, considering its taste, nutritional value, and affordability. The approximate cost for a household of four people is around $20, making it an economical choice for a delicious and filling meal.

Is the Ultimate Chili Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The ultimate chili recipe is a hearty and flavorful dish, but it may not be the healthiest option due to some of its ingredients. The recipe includes pancetta and ground beef, which are high in saturated fat and calories. Additionally, the use of beer and beef stock adds extra calories and sodium to the dish. However, the recipe also incorporates some healthy ingredients, such as onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, garlic, and beans, which provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

To make this chili recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the pancetta with a leaner protein source, such as turkey bacon or omit it altogether
  • Use lean ground beef (90% or higher) or substitute with ground turkey or chicken
  • Reduce the amount of beer and beef stock, or replace them with low-sodium vegetable stock
  • Increase the amount of vegetables, such as adding more bell peppers, carrots, or celery
  • Use low-sodium canned tomatoes and beans to reduce the overall sodium content
  • Serve the chili with healthier toppings, such as plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and a sprinkle of low-fat cheese

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying chili that is lower in fat, calories, and sodium, while still packed with flavor and nutrition.

Editor's Thoughts on This Chili Recipe

This chili recipe is a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The combination of pancetta, ground beef, and a variety of spices creates a rich and hearty base, while the addition of beer and beef stock adds depth to the dish. The use of fire-roasted tomatoes, beans, and green chiles provides a wonderful contrast of textures, and the optional toppings offer a customizable touch. Overall, this recipe is a delicious and satisfying take on a classic chili, perfect for cozy gatherings or game day feasts.

Enhance Your The Best Chili Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Savory garlic bread with a crispy crust and soft, buttery center, perfect for dipping into the hearty chili.
Loaded Baked Potatoes: Fluffy baked potatoes topped with all the fixings - cheese, bacon, sour cream, and chives - a delicious accompaniment to the rich and flavorful chili.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Juicy, charred corn on the cob slathered with butter and sprinkled with chili powder, a smoky and sweet side dish to balance out the heat of the chili.
Honey Butter Biscuits: Flaky, golden biscuits brushed with sweet honey butter, a delightful addition to soak up every last bit of chili goodness.

Alternative Recipes Similar to the Ultimate Chili

Hearty Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in. Filled with tender beef, carrots, and potatoes, this stew is sure to warm you up on a cold evening.
Zesty Chicken Tacos: These zesty chicken tacos are a fresh and flavorful option for a weeknight dinner. With juicy chicken, tangy salsa, and crunchy lettuce, these tacos are a crowd-pleaser for the whole family.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Indulge in a bowl of creamy tomato basil soup, perfect for a light lunch or dinner. This soup is made with ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, and a touch of cream for a velvety texture.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Chili

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. These bite-sized treats are perfect for impressing guests at any gathering.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Whip up a creamy and cheesy spinach and artichoke dip that is sure to be a hit at any party. Serve it with crispy tortilla chips or toasted baguette slices for a delicious start to any meal.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture of the mousse paired with the light and airy whipped cream creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. The combination of sweet and tart apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg creates a cozy and nostalgic dessert that is perfect for any occasion.

Why trust this The Best Chili Recipe:

This chili recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, crafted by a seasoned chef with a passion for flavorful and hearty dishes. The combination of pancetta and ground beef creates a rich and savory base, while the addition of fire roasted tomatoes and chipotle chili in adobo sauce infuses a smoky depth. The use of beer and beef stock adds complexity, and the blend of chili powder, paprika, and cumin creates a harmonious balance of spices. With optional toppings like avocado and cheddar cheese, this recipe promises a delightful and satisfying chili experience.

Share your thoughts on The Best Chili Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any secret ingredients or techniques that make your chili stand out!
FAQ:
How spicy is this chili recipe?
This chili recipe has a moderate level of spiciness. The combination of jalapeño, chipotle chili, and green chiles adds a nice kick, but it's not overwhelmingly hot. If you prefer a milder chili, you can reduce the amount of jalapeño or omit the chipotle chili.
Can I make this chili recipe ahead of time?
Absolutely! This chili actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Simply let it cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you're ready to enjoy it, gently reheat it on the stovetop over low heat.
Can I use something other than beer in this chili recipe?
Yes, if you prefer not to use beer, you can substitute it with an equal amount of beef broth or even water. The beer adds a unique depth of flavor, but the chili will still be delicious without it.
What type of beans should I use for this chili recipe?
You can use any type of beans you like, such as kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combination of different beans. If using canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse them before adding to the chili.
How can I make this chili recipe vegetarian?
To make this chili vegetarian, simply omit the pancetta and ground beef. Instead, you can add extra vegetables like diced carrots, celery, and zucchini for texture and flavor. You can also increase the amount of beans to make up for the absence of meat.

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