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How to Make Chili

Chili con Carne
We love chili for its rib-stickin’ heartiness, its full flavor, and its versatility—from meat-rich Texas chili to vegetarian bean chili, the options are endless. Here’s how to make, and master, chili.

Introduction

Different Types of Chili

Our classic chili is delicious, but there are lots of tasty variations that can give the traditional recipe a fun twist. Have chicken leftovers? Try white chicken chili; made with cannellini beans and spices, this chili tastes great topped with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and sour cream. Looking for a vegetarian version that’s just as hearty as its meat-rich counterpart? This Three-Bean Chili and Rice is packed full of flavor and served over rice, and it won our chili cook-off contest so it’s a guaranteed hit! Perhaps the exact opposite of vegetarian chili is Texas chili. Filled to the brim with beef and spices, this version has no beans. Of course, the best part of making chili is that you can add whatever ingredients and flavors you love, just like this Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili. Our classic chili is delicious, but there are lots of tasty variations that can give the traditional recipe a fun twist. Have chicken leftovers? Try white chicken chili; made with cannellini beans and spices, this chili tastes great topped with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and sour cream. Looking for a vegetarian version that’s just as hearty as its meat-rich counterpart? This Three-Bean Chili and Rice is packed full of flavor and served over rice, and it won our chili cook-off contest so it’s a guaranteed hit! Perhaps the exact opposite of vegetarian chili is Texas chili. Filled to the brim with beef and spices, this version has no beans. Of course, the best part of making chili is that you can add whatever ingredients and flavors you love, just like this Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili.

How to Enjoy Chili

Chili is great for a weeknight dinner (plus, it makes great leftovers!) and it works for a get-together, too. A clever idea for a party is to make a chili bar: have as many variations of chili as you’d like ready for your guests. Set up bowls full of toppings so everyone can customize their own chili. Here are just a few of our favorite chili-ready toppings:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocados
  • Diced red onion
  • Sliced scallions
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green onions
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Frank's™ RedHot™ Original cayenne pepper sauce
  • Lime wedges

It’s also easy (and tasty!) to use chili as a topping itself. Try it as a casserole on top of cornbread for a Southern comfort dinner that takes less than an hour to make, or as a game-day favorite that’s whipped up easily in the slow cooker.

Methods for Making Chili

Chili can be made in a variety of ways, just adding to its versatility. You can make chili on the stove top, in a skillet, or in a slow cooker. A no-fuss chili with minimal cleanup can be made in a skillet or a one-pot recipe for the stovetop, but using the slow cooker makes for easy dinner prep and gives the house a delicious savory smell for you to come home to. Because of its versatility, many different kinds of chili can be made in different ways: whether you’re making chicken chili, family-favorite chili, or even chili-stuffed sweet potatoes, there’s a version for both your stovetop and your slow cooker.

How to Make Chili

Chili is easy to make for a crowd! Our tips are to create a chili bar, and create a few versions of your favorite recipes depending on your guest count.

As for chili ingredients, you can use many types of vegetables and meats. There are many varieties of chilis, and each include different ingredients. A few of our favorite staple ingredients in classic chili are: diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, and ground beef. Of course, there are chilis that are delicious with cooked chicken breast, lean ground turkey, or enjoyed as vegetarian, which include a lot of types of beans: kidney, black, garbanzo, cannellini, etc. A few classic chili seasonings include: chili powder (or ancho chile powder), ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. While the spices add a great deal of flavor to the chili, the hearty tomato base often comes from a can of tomato sauce.

Here’s how to make one of our favorite chili recipes, Chili con Carne:

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper sauce
  • 2 cups Muir Glen™ organic diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained
  • 1 can (19 oz) Progresso™ red kidney beans, undrained

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Directions:

1. In 3-quart saucepan, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

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2. Stir in remaining ingredients except beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

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3. Stir in beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

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What to Serve with Chili

One of the best parts about eating chili is choosing garnishes and sides! Here are a few of our favorite garnishes:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocados
  • Diced red onion
  • Sliced scallions
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green onions
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Frank's™ RedHot™ Original cayenne pepper sauce
  • Lime wedges

Chili tastes great paired with homemade breads, rice, or even a side salad. And just like its counterpart sloppy joes, chili pairs terrifically with cornbread. Here’s a five-star recipe for classic cornbread:

Leftover Chili

If you have leftovers, fear not! It’s easy to save chili by freezing it correctly. Here are a few tips for storing and reheating chili:

  • Refrigerate chili in a shallow container so it cools rapidly. Once completely cooled, cover tightly.
  • Refrigerate most chilis with vegetables or meat no more than 3 days.
  • Pour chili into freezer containers, leaving ¼ to ½ inch headspace because soups tend to expand as they freeze.
  • Most broth-based chilis freeze well for up to 6 months.
  • Freezing potatoes makes them soft and mealy, so add cooked potatoes when reheating.
  • Thaw frozen chili overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Use right away.
  • Reheat broth-based soups over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Or reheat in the microwave.
  • Green bell pepper flavor intensifies after freezing and onion gradually loses flavor, so the seasoning may need to be adjusted to taste during reheating.

Chili can also be used in a variety of different recipes. Here is one of our favorite recipes that would pair perfectly with leftover chili, California Taco Chili Bake:

Searching for even more chili ideas? Here are all of Betty’s best chili recipes in one place: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/dishes/chili-recipes



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