~ From the Kitchen of the Fractured Cook ~ Best Chili Ever

Mom's chili. #food #foodporn

Mom’s chili. (Photo credit: pindarninja)

I have a nostalgic recipe for my Mom’s  “Favourite Chili” hanging on the bulletin board attached to my refrigerator. It calls for things like real kidney beans that you have to parboil, chopped onion and green peppers, cumin, cloves, chili powder, garlic cloves, tomatoes, and salt to taste. I just love recipes that say “salt to taste”. Sounds like they are giving you “creative licence”.

I am going to tell you how to make the best and fastest chili in the world, but you need to remember several things before I reveal my recipe:

1. If something takes more than ten minutes to fix, I don’t fix it.

2. Shortcut cooking is my kind of cooking.

3. I am no purist.

4. I rarely follow a recipe—I cook by ear (you know, some people play music by ear, I cook by ear)

5. I think cooking from scratch is laudable. It is something I rarely do, but it is laudable.

Okay, are you ready?

Cook some hamburg (if I were being official I would say a pound to a pound and a half, and scramble fry it).

Add some chopped onion if you are feeling really creative, while you are cooking the hamburg.

Once the hamburg is browned, add a big can of tomatoes (32 oz if you are getting fussy); a can of kidney beans (the cheapest you can find on the shelf); a can of tomato sauce (whatever size you have); a can of tomato soup; and some water (usually about half a tomato soup can).

Add one packet of chili mix (I use President’s Choice or Old El Paso—but it is your choice). I put this in at any point in the process, usually just after the meat has been browned and before I add the liquids. Sometimes I forget and add it later—like now.

If you are still feeling creative, peel a clove or two of garlic, cut in half and drop into chili. (I cut it big for easy retrieval later.)

Add a teaspoon or so of cocoa and some “salt to taste”. And some black pepper if you want.

Heat until it bubbles, then turn down to a simmer for a couple of hours. If you don’t have a couple of hours, twenty minutes will do.

Ladle (I used the word dump at first but thought that was too indelicate) into bowls and serve with toast or garlic bread or bread right from the wrapper.

As I have noted several times in this blog, I am a white girl of Scottish, English, Irish, French, and Pennsylvania Dutch origins. There may be something else in the mix—I am not sure.  Other people in my family, with exactly the same origins are really good cooks and they cook from scratch.  So, what is my excuse?

If truth be told, I am not a bad cook. And I love good food lovingly prepared. I just choose to lovingly prepare mine in as little time as possible. If you liked this recipe I can share my Best Ever Easy Beef Stew with you, but be forewarned, there is no searing and very little chopping in my recipe–but it is tasty and not time-consuming. Ask and it will be given.

For now, happy Friday to all, and to all a good weekend.


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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. haha! You’re my kind of cook! This recipe looks like it’s right up my alley. Perfect for a cold October day.
    Thanks, LouAnn!

    • It is a good and easy warmup — especially for cooks who are not crazy about cooking

  2. Oh yummy.. I made a pot of chili last week complete with sweet cornbread.. Yours is making me hungry for some more 🙂

    • I never think of cornbread–but that would be great– my mom used to fix cornbread but we would have it for dessert with syrup–I am going to have to add that to my somewhat limited repertoire

      • Oh cornbread in syrup is good too.. I use Jiffy mix, add 2 TBSP sugar and Voila!

      • sounds good and easy

      • Oh, I remember my grandma making johnny cake (sweet cornbread baked in a 9×13 pan and eating it with corn syrup over top..

      • that is what we did — we never had it with chili, though I have tried that and liked it too

  3. One day I will hit the kitchen up & attempt to cook a meal. I’m still trying to recover from going up in flames back in 2003.
    Sounds like my kinda’ meal though. How about that beef stew recipe?
    🙂 Happy Friday!

    • that is all I needed – you to ask –flames in 2003–that does not sound good

  4. Anything that has meat, garlic, onion and tomatoes in it is good in my book. Have a great weekend, Lou Ann.

  5. Now I’m hungry. Might have to stir up a pot of chili for dinner tonight. I like shortcuts too – weeknight dinners shouldn’t take a long time to make. Easy, fast and tasty is the way to go.

  6. Hey can you bring me some of that, pretty please? I’m kind of hungry now LOL!!

    • coming right up — you only live, what, four hours away?

      • I don’t even think it’s that far, but distance is no object right???

      • I am about three hours from Kitchener–where are you — and keep in mind that I have trouble finding my way out of a paper bag

      • We are 1 1/2 hours NE of Kitchener, 40 minutes N of Orangeville.

  7. I haven’t heard the word “hamburg” since my growing up years, LouAnn. I like your recipe (minus the hamburger because we mostly eat vegetarian). It sounds easy but delicious.

    • -see when I think of hamburger I think of the round disc–I had trouble deciding–guess I could have called it ground beef–I have had spaghetti sauce with tofu–do think it would translate here
      -by the way I liked your dress that you wore for the wedding — was disappointed we did not get to see the shoes

      • Did I tell you the shoes bruised my toenails? The edges are still black and blue. How could this be? How could WEDGES do this to a human being? I mean, I can understand heels. But wedges?

      • it is just not fair, I say, as I sit here with my sneakers on–yes we had a little discussion about your wedges or at least I remember reading it in your post perhaps

      • Yes, we did! We’ve already covered it and here I’m bringing it up yet again. I’m wearing socks now. 🙂

      • no more wedges for you or me–personally I think flats are classy!

  8. It may be quite warm here but a good bowl if chilli is such a weakness 🙂
    Looks awesome!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • oh, I am embarrassed for you to see my recipes — you are being kind–you are a sweet friend

  9. For some reason, this expression made me smile:
    I just love recipes that say “salt to taste”.

  10. You are definitely not alone with making quick meals. While I do cook from scratch, most of the cooking is time I don’t have to spend actually standing in the kitchen. The only thing that surprised me about your recipe was the addition of the cocoa. I never would have thought of that.

    • gives it a nice deep flavour and counters the acidity of the tomatoes

      • I’m going to have to try that next time. Thanks for the idea.

  11. You are a chili maker from way back….I remember that was your signature dish growing up.

  12. As a veg, we would love this, minus the meat of course!

  13. For some reason, I always think of chili as a winter comfort food. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I’ll have to make some soon.

    • it is perfect for cooler weather–I very seldom make it after Aoril and until September again

  14. I see we have the same cooking philosophy… this comforts me 🙂 I always feel lazy ’cause I take shortcuts but hey, my family likes it so why fret? Never put cocoa in my chili.. will have to try it.

    • gives it a deeper flavour and as I said somewhere else it “treats” the acidity of the tomatoes

  15. 1-5 I agree. For my chili use basic canned tomato sauce and kidney beans(sometimes navy) and use crumbled Italian sausage instead of hamburger. Sausage contains all the seasonings you need and maybe a small scoop of corn.

    • I put corn in sometimes too and if more people come than I have fixed the chili for I put in some canned baked beans–like the idea of the sausae though – I have put in navy beans and like that too — chili is so versatile–I have put mushrooms in it, steak, you name it–now sausage is my new go to

  16. Chili season is here! Even though I’ve labored in kitchens for many years, and can fuss over meal prep like the worst french chef, I do appreciate shortcuts that yield great food!
    Happy Saturday to you LouAnn 🙂

  17. Hi Lou This sounds like my kind of recipe. I will give it a try. Is this cocoa the chocolate kind? I would love your Beef Stew Recipe. Char

    Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2012 14:53:36 +0000 To: charleneswaddling@hotmail.com

    • yes it is the chocolate kind–regular cocoa – it deepens the flavour and gets rid of the acidity of the tomatoes–I will be doing the beef stew soon – thanks Charlene – our next meeting is on Nov 8 at JH.

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