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Basic Chili

A basic chili recipe that is meaty, hearty, and sure to feed a crowd!  
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Booze Food, Casual Party, Soup, Stew
Cuisine: American, TexMex
Keyword: Chili
Author: The Subversive Table


  • 2 lbs extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions small dice
  • 2 stalks celery small dice
  • 1 large carrot small dice
  • 1 bell pepper small dice
  • 6 cloves garlic minced


  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika smoked, if you have it
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder optional
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder optional
  • 2 chipotle chili peppers, in adobe sauce chopped (optional)
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 19 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 19 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed

Masa Slurry

  • 1/4 cup Masa Flour
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add 3 T. neutral cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil).  Add vegetables and garlic.  Sprinkle spices and salt on top of vegetables.  Mix around with a wooden spoon, being careful not to let it burn.  Sauté until soft and slightly brown, about 15 minutes, lowering heat if you need.  Add a little more oil if it starts sticking too much to the bottom.
    Basic chili - sweating out the veg
  • Raise heat to medium-high. Add ground beef. Break up meat with a wooden spoon until no pink remains, about 8-10 minutes.
    Basic chili - browning the meat
  • Add crushed and diced tomatoes, chicken stock, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Add the chopped up chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. Mix and bring to a boil.  
    Basic Chili - long simmer
  • Lower heat and simmer with lid partly on/off. Stir once in awhile so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes, on low heat, until the color deepens to a darker red.
  • Make the Masa flour slurry. Mix the Masa flour and water in a small bowl. Mix well until there are no clumps. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro, green onions, etc. I also like to serve tortilla chips, Fritos, or cornbread on the side. 
    Basic Chili with toppings


Chili does require a lot of chopping. If you are feeling lazy, you can pulse quartered vegetables in a food processor. Pulse the carrot first and set aside.  Then pulse the other vegetables as they are softer and will be processed more quickly. Also, watch carefully while you pulse. You want the veggies to be chopped into small pieces, about the same size, not pureed.
This makes a generous amount of chili.  Make sure to use a large stock pot or your pot will overflow with chili goodness.  Alternately, you can halve the recipe.