Classic Texmex Chili

Chili (initially modified from a restaurant’s recipe)


This tastes better at home.  The key is being more much generous with the beef and beans to keep it from being soupy like it is at that well-known restaurant.  Be prepared to add more of either if it starts looking too liquid-like.  I usually make this using half ground turkey and half ground beef.

I skip the celery and salt in their recipe and use V8 instead.  I leave out the green pepper because not everyone likes it.  I sometimes skip the sugar, depending on how the tomato sauce is tasting because sometimes it seems sweet right out of the can  Some people like big chunks of tomato.  Beware of too much spicy heat as some people can’t handle it.  The hard core can add Tabasco later.


3 lbs. fresh ground beef (or equivalent quantity of mixed beef and turkey)
1 (12 oz.) can  V8
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomato
1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree
2 (15 oz.) can red beans, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C. chili powder (if you like real flavor, add more)
2 tsp. cumin (ditto on adding more)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. each: black pepper, oregano, sugar
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

All of these quantities are just guidelines.  Feel free to change it up; I always do.


In a frying pan, brown the ground beef; drain, put into a 6-quart pot.

Then cook the onions in the same pan.

Put the browned onions and remaining ingredients into a 6-quart pot with the beef. Mix it all up gently.  Don’t ever stir too hard or the beans may get crushed. Cover the pot; let it simmer gently for 1 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes (or less often if using a crockpot).  It’s already edible, this is just to blend the flavors and warm it up.  Don’t let it boil or bubble or it will get soupy and the texture will suffer.

I used to soak dried beans over night but it was a hassle (especially with the danger of over- or, worse, under-soaking them) and I couldn’t detect any flavor advantage.

Go easy on additional salt, especially if using canned beans and eating with salted crackers.

Serve with saltine crackers or oyster crackers.  For the deluxe version, have shredded sharp cheddar to sprinkle over each bowl.  Some people like to also sprinkle with raw chopped onions (ugh).

It’s also better the day after it is made as this gives the flavors more time to marry.  Refrigerates for a long time, is eminently reheatable, and can be frozen for an eternity.

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