I know there is already an abundance of chili recipes out in the world and here’s one more to add to the mix. Everyone has a family favorite. This is ours. My husband worked out the recipe years ago and now I make it every fall and winter when the weather gets cold. Many happy family memories are wrapped up in this chili recipe from birthday celebrations to holiday gatherings. One particularly fond memory is from several years ago before we had kids and I was still working full time. I was working on a very stressful project that required long hours leaving little energy for anything else. My husband had asked me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday that year and I remember thinking all I really wanted was a quiet evening at home sharing a delicious yet simple meal and doing nothing. I asked him to make his chili for me and it was perfect. No fuss … nothing fancy … just warm comfort and lots of love in a bowl.
Fresh baked cornbread makes a great accompaniment for chili. But for something a little different, serve the chili with tamales. My husband grew up eating chili and tamales on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition started by his grandparents who picked it up when they lived in Mexico City for a few years. Like I said – lots of family memories revolve around chili. So, when you need something simple yet hearty and comforting, make yourself a bowl of this chili. It may be basic and old-fashioned but it is by no means plain.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 1/4 pounds ground meat (I use 93% lean ground turkey)
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained but not rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (or more if you want more kick)
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 teaspoons masa harina (see Notes)
- Heat oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften. Add ground meat and brown until no more pink is visible, breaking up any large chunks of meat with a spatula or wooden spoon. Drain off fat (you won’t need to do this if you use lean ground turkey).
- Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, beans, chili powder, oregano, salt, paprika, and 2 cups of water. Stir until evenly mixed. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer for deeper flavor), stirring occasionally.
- Stir masa harina into 1/4 cup of water to make a slurry. Stir masa mixture into chili. Simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Masa harina is a corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales. Here it is used to thicken the chili. It can be found in the Mexican food aisle of most grocery stores.