As the fall season is upon us, we do anything we can to make it actually feel more like fall here in Southeast Texas. And since we had a few days of cooler weather (low to mid 60s), I decided it was time for a nice big pot of chili…and no one in my family complained! This chili is so simple and quick to throw together even the most novice of cooks can throw this together for an amazing hearty meal. The original recipe is based from the Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili. I change it up just slightly from making it so many times.
It starts with just a few simple ingredient, some ground beef, garlic, a can of tomato sauce, some salt, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne.
I am still so in love with our spice jars. I keep them in two drawers next to the oven and these wide mouth jars are just the right size to be able to fit even a table spoon in to scoop and level. I did a tutorial a while back on how I created them which you can find here. Also, that salt/pepper crock is one of my all time favorite Christmas presents Adam has ever given me!
Start by browning the ground beef in a pot preheated over medium high heat. I use beef with a lower amount of fat (think 90/10) so I don’t have to drain the meat and what little fat is there cooks back into the meat while it’s simmering with the spices and makes the chili even richer. I LOVE (and only now) make chili in our dutch oven. Ours is an enameled cast iron dutch oven by Cuisinart and it is amazing. It doesn’t scratch, cleans up so easily, and cooks completely even. I like to let the meat sit for just a minute in the hot pot to get a little bit of brown bits on the bottom.
Then I add a splash or two of vinegar for two reasons. One, it keeps the meat from sticking to the pan and two, it enhances the flavor of the meat.
Toss in the chopped garlic and stir into the meat. I don’t mince it super fine because it cooks into the meat and you don’t even notice small chunks. I let this cook until the meat is completely browned.
I don’t worry about pre-mixing the spices. I also usually use ancho chili powder vs plain chili powder which is why it looks so dark. We love the smokiness it gives the chili. Once the meat is done cooking, I just toss the tomato sauce and all the spices then mix it all together.
Put the lid on and reduce the heat to low. Let the chili simmer for at least an hour stirring a few times. We made this for our house warming party when we first bought the house and had multiple pots of it cooking throughout the night so I know from experience it just gets better the longer the spices linger with the meat. Tip: if it starts to look a little dry, just toss in some water, about 1/4 cup at a time.
Once the chili is done making your entire house smell amazing, mix some corn flour with water and then toss into the chili. The last few times I have made this I realized I forgot to get masa flour at the store so I used cornmeal instead. It works for it’s purpose but doesn’t give it as much corn flavor…I prefer the masa flour.
Now just serve and enjoy! We like to put ours on top of white rice, but we’ve also just had it by itself with some crackers. Bailey and I like to add a little cheese and maybe a dollop of sour cream on top while Adam likes it just the way it is.
We seriously make this all throughout the year, but make it often during the fall and winter months. I am looking for some new fall recipes though and especially recipes to use with our dutch oven. Leave your favorites in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check them out!!
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (90/10 or 93/7)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8-oz can of tomato sauce, no salt added (or 2 if you really like the tomato flavor)
- 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon (cayenne, depends on your heat preference)
- ¼ cup masa flour (or corn meal) + ½ cup water
- Heat dutch oven or pot over medium high heat.
- Add meat and let sit for 2-3 minutes to create brown bits on bottom of pan.
- Mince garlic cloves.
- Stir meat and add a splash or two of white vinegar, stir again.
- Add garlic and mix with meat.
- Let meat completely cook then add tomato sauce and seasonings.
- Mix all together, then cover and reduce heat to low.
- Let chili simmer for at least an hour stirring a few times.
- If it appears to be getting too dry, add a ¼ cup of water and mix in. Continue adding water until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Right before you are going to eat, mix the masa flour with ½ cup of water and add to chili.
- Mix well, then let simmer for about 5-10 more minutes but keep an eye on it so it doesn't stick.
- Pour in a bowl over rice or by itself, add your toppings like cheese and sour cream (or don't) and enjoy!