Cheap, Yummy Chili Recipe

Posted on February 23, 2011 by


I am not a food photographer.

I like cooking. A lot. Sometimes I wish I could try being a chef on my blocked days (when everything I write bores me). I have made up recipes on the spot and been told I could sell them.

But a food photographer, I ain’t. I heated up enough to fit prettily into one of my gramma’s lovely Mexican ceramic bowls figuring I’d just eat it after — without realizing that, good lord, it’s enough food to feed a rugby team.

Besides which, the only semi-passable lighting in the house was in my office.

With that in mind, try my chili:

Alice’s Texas Chili
– Ground lean sirloin (beef or bison), about 2 lbs
– Two types of chili powder (you can use dark and light, or two different brands, just make sure they’re different to enrich the flavour), to taste
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Oil, 1-2 tbsp (I prefer olive for health but you can use anything mostly tasteless)
– Paprika
– Salt
– Small can tomato paste
– Can whole tomatoes in juice, or a cup of peeled Roma tomatoes you’ve stewed yourself
– Can black beans, drained, or about 1 cup of cooked black beans
– Cayenne pepper or ground chipotle, for heat (optional)
1. Heat up oil in saucepan. Add chuck.
2. Stir in spices and salt. Be generous with the paprika and chili powders (I used one or two tablespoons of each) and less generous with the onion and garlic powders (anywhere from 1-2 tsp each).
3. Keep stirring to break up the chuck. Empty tomato paste can into chuck and keep stirring, until chuck is entirely cooked.
4. Add can of tomatoes. Try to break them up a little so you get some nice big tomato chunks in your chili.
5. Add drained black beans.
6. Simmer on low for 20 minutes to half an hour until flavours have melded nicely.

Chili tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a day, but you can eat it fresh. Serve with long grain white rice, a bit of cheese, chopped green onions, and if you want to balance your meal, a salad.

Costs less than a dollar per serving to make if you use fresh tomatoes, make your own beans, and buy your rice in bulk, and is very cheap for the amount of calories and protein it provides.

If you mix your beef chuck with some silken tofu in the browning stage, your meal will provide a complete protein. This stuff is also pretty damned low-fat, for chili.

It also keeps well in the freezer; you can reheat it a month later and it’ll still taste amazing. Just be careful to cook the hell out of it if you keep it for longer than a month, and throw it out before two — bacteria do survive in frozen food, they just multiply a lot more slowly.

All of my recipes are licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.