Lol, my son is so proud of this Award Winning Chili, he took it to a Chili Cook-Off a couple months ago and he won! He’s been filling out applications for his own show on the Food Network ever since. I actually think its pretty darn adorable that he was so excited and I can’t say I’m surprised his Chili won, it was DELICIOUS!
Side Note: Can we all just agree that a good bowl of chili on a cold winter evening is some kind of wonderful…mmm, mmm, mmmm! Just me? I realize I’m kind of a soup and chili addict in the winter but even when I go out to eat, (regardless of the season) if a homemade chili is on the menu…I’m going for it!
Did I mention I like Chili?
- Favorite White Chicken Chili
- The Best Chili Ever
- Slow Cooker Chili Chicken Casserole (A great recipe to use up leftover Chili)
- Classic Taco Soup (aka chili)
Back to the story: This particular son usually doesn’t get very excited about competitive things, so I was surprised that he was taking this contest so seriously. He really put some thought and research into it. He googled “Award Winning Chili” and asked me what recipe I thought would be best. After looking at the recipes that came up, we made a plan. We used this recipe as a jumping off point.
The original recipe called for a jalapeno. We didn’t have one and even if we would have, he didn’t want his chili to be very spicy so we probably would have left it out or made sure not to add any seeds. A can of Rotel (diced tomato and chilies) add just the hint of spice he wanted. And the other ingredient I lobbied for was…you guessed it. Smoked Paprika.
Another Side Note: Friends, Friends, Friends…if you don’t have yourselves a little (or big) jar of smoked paprika in your spice cupboard or drawer, you need to rectify that situation immediately! Smoked Paprika adds such a fantastic dimension of flavor to any kind of Mexican flavored dish. It’s like you didn’t realize how much you were missing in life until one day you tasted it in a salsa someone made and your life was changed forever. Just me? Seriously friends, if you make a lot of Mexican food, you really need a stash of this magic powder!
He trusted my opinion and other than that there were just minor tweaks to the original, like adding more diced tomatoes, less water, less tomato sauce, a little sugar, because, I don’t know why but it does something magic to tomato based recipes. And badabing, badaboo, before we knew it he had a pretty great chili on his hands. We hope you love it too!
Frequently asked questions about chili recipes:
What is the best secret ingredient for Chili?
In my opinion there are two small additions that make chili awesome! 1. Smoked paprika 2. A little sugar (I usually use brown sugar, but it doesn’t matter which type, you could even use honey if you don’t want to use sugar). The little bit of sugar really adds a depth to the tomato flavor in the chili. Give it a try, it really adds something.
Back to Smoked Paprika. Smoked Paprika is one of my favorite ingredients to take things up a notch. It gives some smokey-ness and a really special flavor that you can’t put your finger on, you just know you love it.
How do you make chili better?
Recipes like this one are hard to improve on, but depending on your personal preference, sweet, spicy, no beans, more veggeis? There are things you can do. Type of meat, type of beans, amount of spice, adding finely chopped carrots or zucchini? I think having two different types of beans is an easy and great way to make chili better. It adds to the texture. Also using all or part Italian sausage makes a really good chili too. But the easiest way to make chili better is to make it a day in advance. Sitting overnight and having time to let the ingredients really steep results in really good chili!
What is the best meat for chili?
I love beef in chili, but I have also started to really enjoy chili made with part Italian sausage. Especially spicy Italian sausage. SOOOO good. If you haven’t tried it yet, start with this recipe, it is awesome!
How Long should Chili COok?
Because you brown the meat first, once all the ingredients are mixed together and come to a boil, you can turn it down to a simmer and let everything simmer for 20-30 minutes. It is technically done at that point and will just need a short 5-10 minute rest before serving…Or if you are like me and you just love having a pot of simmering soup on the stove you can little it simmer for an hour or two.
- 1 lb Ground Beef (you can also use half ground beef, half Italian Sausage
- 2 cups Diced Yellow Onion (about 2 medium or one huge onion, can sub purple onion if needed)
- 1 cup Diced Green Pepper (can sub red or yellow if desired)
- 1 tsp Crushed Garlic (one normal sized clove)
- 1 can Rotel (diced tomato with jalapeno)
- 1 15 ounce can Petite Diced Tomato
- 1 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp Cumin
- 2 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika (you can use regular if you don't have smoked)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (Optional...if you like heat you could add up to half a tsp)
- 1 15 ounce can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup beef broth
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, add oil and beginning cooking ground beef over medium high heat.
- When ground beef is mostly cooked add onions, green pepper and crushed garlic. Continue cooking, stirring often, until onions and peppers are tender.
- Add cumin, chili powder, salt, smoked paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir and let cook for about one minute before this helps bring out the favors of the spices.
- Add Rotel, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and beef broth. Stir well and taste liquid to see if you need to add any more salt. You may need to add up to ¼ or ½ tsp depending on how salty your beef broth and tomatoes are or aren't.
- At this point add the brown sugar and bring soup to a boil. Once it is boiling turn it down to a simmer and allow it to simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. It is okay to let it simmer longer. I sometimes let it simmer for an hour or two.
- Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn chips.
- Leftover chili can be frozen for up to 3 months or stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
....and for your sweet tooth