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My family's all-time favorite Beef Chili (VIDEO)

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

bowl of chili

I can't think of any other soup in America as popular as chili. Can you?

There are hundreds if not thousands of recipes dedicated to chili all-over the Internet.

Everyone needs a recipe for classic ground beef chili. The recipe I am offering to you today should by all means become your go-to! It features ground beef, corn, peppers, tomatoes, and beans. This particular recipe makes enough to freeze for later, that is only if you can set any aside in which to save!

bowl of chili with corn bread

What type of meat should you use in chili?

The best ground beef for chili has some fat, so 85% lean is ideal. Don’t be tempted to use extra-lean beef or drain off the fat after browning the meat. The fat bastes the meat during cooking, which adds richness to the sauce and keeps the meat moist. However, do not stress about this and use whatever you have on hand. In the video I used not ideal meat, because it was leaner than I wanted, but it's what I had on hand!

How and why to brown beef for chili

Adding baking soda to the beef before browning ensures tender meat and a caramelized crust on each tasty morsel. This is optional, but is a nice way to perfect your chili, although you will see in the video that I didn't incorporate this step, but I at least wanted to share this tip with you. However, brown the beef before adding the rest of the ingredients. Browning in two batches without crowding the pan gives that nice color that we all desire to have in a soup for the final flavor profile. Remember, NO COLOR = NO FLAVOR.

That's why browning is important for it creates caramelization, which adds an insane amount of flavor. Caramelized beef is mildly sweet and partners beautifully with the smoky spices, and tangy tomatoes.

Timesaving tip: While the beef is cooking, chop the vegetables.


Fresh and freshly ground toasted spices make a world of difference and will add some pretty substantial excitement to your everyday dishes. Am I right?

Although buying pre-ground spices is certainly convenient, ground spices oxidize and lose their flavors much quicker than whole spices. With the pre-ground stuff, there’s a risk that what you purchase from the store is already well past its “best by” date by the time it reaches your kitchen. Anyway, it’s easy to toast up your own as needed, and it will make you a much better cook. Some spices are fat-soluble, some water, and some are alcohol soluble like saffron.

The spices that are being used in this recipe are fat-soluble. A recommendation would be that you toast them in fat before adding them to the dish. This is an option and not a requirement!

I love spices, and last year I gave a tutorial on my collection of spices. If you would like to see it, check out this post.


2 chilies

When you are looking for a nice chili flavor, true chili has to include a CHILI! It is best to buy a whole dried chili and select the level of heat that is your preference. Just about every supermarket these days has a section of Latino food. When choosing a whole dried chili, be sure to read the label. My family, unlike me, doesn't like chili to be hot, so the mildest one, which is called California chili, is what I used in the recipe and without the seeds too! Also, the chili you purchase should be flexible and not break easily. It's important to not get an old chili or one that is overly dry.


I used in the video mild chili, called CALIFORNIA CHILI.


Instead of discussing the amazing health benefits of black beans or the need for us to eat more legumes, I would like to concentrate my focus on what is even more important, which is the proper way to cook them.

black beans

In the video I used a jar of beans that have been on the market for a while. I love these Jovial brand products and use them for my family. This brand actually soaks the beans overnight and cooks them with a touch of Sicilian Sea salt, which is the old-fashioned way of preparing beans. They are a good quality product and easy to digest because they properly prepare the beans.

jar with beans

Why do you want to soak all your beans, nuts, seeds, and some grains?

In the video, I mentioned that you could use canned black beans or cook them yourself, it's all up to you whichever is more convenient. But I also mentioned that I cook all my dried beans and keep them in the freezer until I need them.

These days we see more and more people eating raw and unprocessed whole foods, which are a good thing unless they're loaded with enzyme inhibitors and phytates. By many experts in this area, these can cause quite a disturbance in the body. Consuming raw grains, nuts, seeds and beans is definitely not nature’s way. Our body is not designed to process these foods in their raw state.

These foods are loaded with phytic acid that not only grabs onto important minerals, but it also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food.

With baking a lot of fermented breads (sourdough), I have mentioned in my blogs how great bread is if it's been fermented. Almost all grains should be fermented because untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.

According to Sally Fallon and other specialists, a diet high in nuts, seeds, beans, and grains that are improperly prepared may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. It may also lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS or SIBO) and in the long term, have many other adverse effects.

These types of health problems in our new generations exist because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Every culture in the world in the old days used a slow way of preparing their grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Keep your gut healthy and feed the microbes some of their favorite food — fiber!

How to properly soak beans

  • Place the dried beans in a large bowl and add water to cover them by 2 to 3 inches. Discard any beans that float.

  • Then, leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours (24 maximum), or overnight.

  • When your beans are done soaking, drain and rinse.

  • Transfer the soaked beans to a large pot and cover them with 3 inches of water.

  • Bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 50 minutes, discarding any foam that rises to the surface.

  • I freeze my beans in portions so I can have them on hand whenever I need them. You can also store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

For most beans these instructions can work, except soybeans, they need to be soaked for 48 hours.

You can use a crock-pot or instant pot if this will help you.

If you like chili flavor and are a big fan of black beans, like I am, you must try this salad:

sweet potato salad

Let's make it...

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Total time: 65 minutes

Author: Inna of

Serves: 8 people


Ingredients for the chili

2 lbs. ground beef

1 can of corn kernels with juice

2 cups diced tomatoes

2 Tablespoons of tomato paste

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons lard (or any fat of your choice)

Celtic salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 and 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of chipotle paste.

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoke paprika (optional)

2-4 dried California Chili peppers (or chili of your choice)

Ingredients for the serving (optional)

Fresh Cilantro

Sour cream or creme fraiche

Shredded cheese

Avocado slices

Jalapeno fermented or fresh, sliced.

Pico De Gallo fermented or fresh.



  • First, make a chili paste by cutting and deseeding the chilies. Now place them into a blender cup and add water until they are well covered. Place a lid on the blender and set aside.

blender cup filled with two chili peppers
blended chili in a cup
  • To save cooking time, I used a Dutch oven pot and a skillet at the same time. Chop the onion and garlic. Add to the pot with fat. If you are using lard like I did, wait until it melts, then add onion, and cook for a minute on medium heat. Add garlic, stir everything, and season with salt and pepper. Rub the whole cumin seeds between two fingers and add to the sautéed onion and garlic.

  • Meanwhile on a preheated skillet add another tablespoon of fat, let it melt and add your meat. Don't overcrowd the pan. Cooking the meat in two batches is the way to go.

  • To the pot with onions, add the chopped carrot, dried oregano, chili powder and bay leaves.

  • When meat is nice, and brown add to the pot with sautéed onion.

  • Chop the bell pepper and add it to the pot. Next, add the diced tomatoes, corn and the black beans along with the juice.

chili in a pot
  • Add 4 cups of water. Stir everything. Cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for an hour or bake at 300F in the oven for 2 hours.

  • Puree the chilies that have been soaking in your blender. After your dish begins to simmer, add the chilies. Also, your last ingredients are the chipotle and tomato paste. Stir! Let it continue cooking on LOW heat for 10-15 minutes.

If you are patient, it's a good idea to let soup sit and mellow down developing mouthwatering flavor. Serve with the following toppings that are listed above. Enjoy!

pot with soup and bowl with chili

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or Pinterest.

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