Tis the Season…Make it Your Own Meat and Red Bean Chili

Real Simple Chili II

“delectable chile-con-carne… composed of delicate meats minced with aromatic herbs and the poignant chile Colorado — a compound full of singular saver and a fiery zest…”
O. Henry ‘The Enchanted Kiss’

Beef, Pork and Red Bean Chili

I fully  intended to make a Real Simple magazine recipe for a quick chili (about 30 minutes), but of course my pot of chili morphed into a slightly longer and more flavorful version of the recipe as I read through the ingredients and didn’t see anything that would make anything but a very plain chili .

I didn’t have canned beans so I cooked dried beans after a two-hour soaking and then since Michael always prefers ground meat in his chili where I like the chunkier meat pieces in mine, I ended up grinding the beef and pork for the pot of chili. Bean soaking and simmering aside, I had a whole extra ten minutes invested in cutting and grinding the beef and pork.

Since I was using dried beans and had to simmer them for about 1-1/2 hours after the soak I seasoned the beans with a little chili seasoning, garlic and onion and tossed in some chicken broth.  Not sure that this makes an appreciable difference in taste, it’s just something that I do thinking that the beans will have some extra flavor to add to the chili.

This basic chili is very adaptable and I encourage you to cut loose and add your own touches of herbs, spices etc.  There are some really good chili seasonings on the market and one that I like is Wick Fowler’s I’ve used it for centuries and I highly recommend the seasonings.  Some of my favorite add-ins to quick chili recipes unsweetened cocoa, a couple pinches, probably about a teaspoon for this recipe, a pinch of cinnamon, oregano,  a pinch of chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika (chipotle can be quite hot),  and one Coronita beer for deglazing the pan after sautéing the onions and garlic.

I sautéed the ground beef and pork in batches and reserved (remove with slotted spoon) keep all the pan goodies to briefly sauté the onions and garlic in (add a teaspoon or so of EVOO if there is not enough oil left from the sautéed meat.

The chili was very good with all of the changes that I made…top with a lot of stuff!  Serve with breadstick knots.

Real Simple Chili Bread Knots

1-2 tablespoons EVOO (not mentioned in the recipe)

Red Bean Chili adapted from Real Simple The basic recipe

Serves 6-8| Hands-On Time: 20m| Total Time: 40m


  • 2-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • * Optional 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable or beef broth (1 box Swanson’s hearty beef stock)
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or to taste)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes (1 box Pomi diced tomatoes)
  • 2 15-1/2 ounce cans kidney beans, drained  (2-1/2 cups dried, soaked and simmered for 1-1/2 hours, drained)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • *1 tablespoon cider vinegar  (I don’t like vinegar in my chili)
  • Pick your favorite toppings and sides: sliced green onions grated Cheddar, sour cream, chopped jalapeño, corn bread or muffins


1.  Place a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
2.  Add the onion, stirring well, and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3.  Gradually add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven;  bring to a boil.
4.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
5.  Add the beans, salt, and vinegar, stirring well. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more.