There’s just something about fall where you crave heavier things… be it shirts, shoes, blankets or food. And while just about every fall dish gets me excited (and really, it’s my favorite part of the season), I get even more excited about fall’s best crowd-pleaser; chili.
In fact, we’ve already made chili a few times in our home, and the season has just begun! I love when my family walks through the door to the scent and they already know what’s about to be served up… our best EVER chili recipe. And yes, we’ve even won some chili cook-offs, so I can feel confident saying that!
To really create an atmosphere for a party-pleasing, having a large pot of chili cooking on the stove always seems to do the trick. But I won’t leave you hanging there! Besides sharing our best ever chili recipe with you (shhh, don’t tell anyone), I’m also dishing up some tips for a satisfying chili night with friends.
Tips & Tricks
1. Raid the pantry! The best part about an amazing base of chili in a bowl is all of the great toppings. I like offering a wide selection of toppings including almonds and some pumpkin seeds. Other toppings for crunch like tortilla chips, corn chips and popcorn – yes popcorn! Grated cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt and some green onions are also a great choice. Avocado or guacamole, croutons… just see what you have in your pantry and use it!
2. Go for a full-on DIY chili bar and include other goods. You could even employ your guests to bring different dishes that mix and match well with chili, from mac and cheese to baked potatoes, nachos and pasta… they all make for great bases to the best chili!
3. Don’t forget the essentials. There’s not much needed for the perfect chili night, but before you go buying ingredients for your dish, make sure you’ve got a large stock pot on hand, plenty of bowls and spoons, napkins and a ladle for serving.
4. Offer some sweet pairings! Beer is often a popular choice, but whatever your drink of choice, have some tasting options to create a fun pairing adventure with the meal.
5. Throw a football game on the big screen and we’ll call a chili party a success!
Ready for our best ever chili recipe? Keep reading because you don’t want to miss this one!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- ½ pound bacon
- 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
- 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 (16 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 cup beef stock (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground beef into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
2. In a different pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Let drain onto a paper towel, before chopping and add to stock pot. Cook the chopped onion and red pepper in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes. Add to the stock pot.
3. To the stock pot, add in the drained beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef stock. Season with sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.
5. Serve and enjoy. Top with cheese, onions, sour cream or greek yogurt, or your favorite chili toppings!
Notes: Sometimes, instead of adding beef stock, I’ll use the can of tomato sauce and after pouring the sauce into the pot, fill the can with water then add to pot. Or, use a can of beer.