Just Good Food

by John Ryan


Good Ol' Chili


Yes, this is very similar to chili you can buy in a can. No, it isn't Southwestern or in any way authentic. Yes, it has beans in it. Yes, it has ground beef in it. No, it isn't 5-alarm hot. But yes, it's good. Especially on a cold winter day. Serve with beer, sour cream, maybe some grated cheddar and corn chips.


You need...
30 minutes or so to prepare
About 1 hour to simmer
3 quart pot with a lid

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Roughly the same amount of chopped celery
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 can of water (about 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney or pinto beans, drained
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Chili flakes to taste


1. Cook the onion and celery in oil until the onion begins to brown.

2. Add the beef and brown. Don't be afraid to let the beef get really crusty and brown.

3. Stir in the garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, flour, and salt. These will absorb the excess grease and probably stick like crazy. This is good. Let it cook a moment, then slowly stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, and let cook for about an hour. Throw in the beans after about half an hour.

4. Season with salt and Worcestershire sauce. Taste the chili for fire. For more heat, add a pinch of chili flakes. Cook a few minutes to let the flavor come out, and taste again. Repeat this process until you hit your pain/pleasure threshold.

5. Serve with sour cream, perhaps some grated cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.


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John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.


This page created January 2000