The Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen has tested thousands of chili recipes and knows what it takes to make an amazing batch. Here's a tried-and-true recipe that lets you choose the ingredients to suit your taste.
The word chili is a spin-off of chile, as in chile peppers, which are usually an ingredient. It is a North American creation that is usually a stew consistency. Chili variations are countless and tend to be regional. Cincinnati residents often serve their cinnamon-seasoned version over spaghetti, Texans like chunky beef but no beans, Midwesterners opt for beans and ground beef, and New Mexicans base their chili bowls on green chiles and sometimes pork. Few recipes are so flexible and yet harbor such allegiance. The popularity of chili-making contests is proof, where top-secret recipes abound. The recipe featured here lets you be the chili chef. It starts with a base recipe but is flexible enough for plenty of customization.
How to Make Chili
This recipe makes 8 main-dish servings and takes about 45 minutes total time (longer for cubed meat). It can also be made in the slow cooker (see directions, below).
1. Choose Ingredients from the Variable Categories Below
You need 1-1/2 pounds. Pick one:
Pick 1 or more to equal 3 cups:
You need two 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained:
You need 1 cup. Pick one:
Pick 1 or more to equal 1 teaspoon:
You need 1/2 teaspoon. Pick one:
Optional: Pick as many as desired:
Tip: Do not discard the fat by pouring it into the drain, since this can clog the pipes. Pour or spoon the fat into a jar or can and let cool. Once the fat is solid, discard it in the trash.
Slow Cooker Directions: Cook the meat, vegetables, and garlic as directed. Drain the fat and place the meat-vegetable mixture in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup liquid (instead of 1 cup), chili powder, dried herb, and ground black pepper. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.