Monday, November 3, 2008


I've been craving chili lately so I made a pot yesterday. I got this recipe from my high school boyfriend's mother. She was the sweetest lady. She told me when she first got married (50-60 something years ago), she didn't know how to cook. So every day, she would go to her friend's upstairs apartment and say, "What are you making for dinner tonight?" The friend would tell her what she was making and Mrs. Homza would write it down and make it for her husband, too. This chili recipe is one of her recipes with a few modifications I've fiddled with since I started making it almost 30 years ago! Upon reading the recipe, you might think it looks boring but everyone who has ever tried it claims it's the best chili ever. (see funny note below)

I serve it with shredded cheese and crushed tortillas on top (or oyster crackers). I also like to make this delicious cornbread with it. I like honey butter for the cornbread (equal parts butter and honey blended together.) This chili has a bit of a bite to it but is not crazy spicy.

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 large sweet onion, chopped coarsely
1 green pepper, chopped coarsely

2 cans condensed tomato soup
1/2 can water (may need to add more as it simmers)
1 can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I don't like a lot of beans; feel free to use two cans if you do)
1/4 cup chili powder (yes I do mean 1/4 CUP)
1 t cumin
1 t black pepper
salt to taste (be sure to check whether it needs salt before adding. the condensed soup and beans add a lot of salt to the recipe)

Brown ground beef with onions and peppers. Drain off fat. You may rinse at this point to remove excess fat, if desired (I don't bother.) Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours. Taste and add additional spices if necessary. If chili gets too thick, stir in water.

I have tried this recipe in the crockpot and don't care for the results. It thickens up on the stovetop but it gets more liquidy in the crockpot due to the nature of crockpot cooking.

Funny Note: I started making this chili when I was in high school and my family loved it and requested it often. After I got married, I had my brother and his new girlfriend over for drinks and munchies. I made a quick dip that included a bar of cream cheese, a can of chili and shredded pepper jack cheese (bake at 325 for 20 minutes, serve with tortillas). My brother's new girlfriend saw the empty chili can in the trashcan and said, "Ken, THIS is your sister's famous chili that everyone talks about?" LOL.