Meat, beans, and veggies are simmered in a flavorful spiced tomato-based broth for the ultimate 30-minute chili.
What is Chili con Carne?
Literally translated, it means “chili with meat” and it consists of a slow-simmered tomato-based stew whose main body consists of beans and meat and veggies that is flavored with an assortment of herbs and spices including chili peppers!
💖 Here’s why you’ll LOVE this recipe:
- It’s loaded with meat, legumes, and (hidden) veggies.
- You only need one pot!
- It takes just 30 minutes to make from start to finish.
- It tastes even better the next day!
- It is clean eating and gluten free.
- The levels of spices can be adjusted to suit your personal preference.
- You can top it with any of your favorite toppings from cheese to herbs to sour cream.
- You can enjoy it as a main meal or as a side. (I’ve listed some pairings towards the end of the post!)
To make this Chili we’ll need the following:
- Ground Beef: I’m using ground beef but two other great protein options are ground turkey or bison.
- Tomato Sauce: I’m using a plain, unseasoned tomato sauce for our flavor base today.
- Black Beans: I’m using black beans which is very popular in Latin American cooking but you can also use pinto or red/kidney beans. I’ve opted to use a canned variety that consists only of the black beans in salt and water.
- Corn: Fresh, canned or frozen, we’re using some whole kernel sweet corn for both taste and texture.
- Bacon: I’m using 3-4 strips of uncooked hickory smoked thick cut bacon that we’ll cut into small pieces, but you can also mince it.
- Beef Broth/Stock: I’m using a beef bone broth in my chili, but you can use any broth or stock of your choosing (and you’re not limited to using just beef, you can use chicken or vegetable stock as well).
- Jalapenos: Though optional, thiis adds both spice/heat and a great flavor to our chili.
- Salt: This recipe doesn’t call for a lot of salt since we’re using the liquid from the canned beans which tends to be salty plus the bacon and broth. I’m using a touch of pink Himalayan salt but you can also use a sea salt and adjust to suit your personal taste.
- Cane Sugar: A touch of sweetness helps to balance the acidity of the tomato sauce and add an additional depth of flavor. I’m using some finely blended raw cane sugar but you can also use honey or add in some cubed sweet potatoes!
- Oil: I’m using an extra light olive oil but you can use any clean eating oil of your choosing.
- Fine Thyme: We’re just using the leaves and discarding the sticks.
- Onions: I’m using finely minced red onions but you can use white or yellow onions if you prefer.
- Garlic: I’m using cloves of fresh garlic that I’ve finely minced along with the onions.
To make prep time easier, I opted to finely mince my onion and garlic together in my food processor but you can chop them by hand if preferred.
- Spices: I’m using an assortment of spices that gives a phenomenal chili flavoring. These spices include:
- Chili Powder – you can also use ground chipotle pepper if you prefer.
- Ground Cumin.
- Dried Oregano.
- Smoked Paprika.
- Ground Black Pepper.
- Ground White Pepper.
I’m adding in two veggies (Carrots and Brussel Sprouts) that I’ve finely minced in my food processor. Mincing it allows it to melt and blend into our chili so even the pickiest of eaters can get a bump of veggies without knowing it! Another great veggie to sneak into your stew is some small cubes of butternut squash or pumpkin. Alternatively, you can replace the honey/sugar with some cubed sweet potato that will cook and melt into your chili.
Now, here’s how easy this Chili is to make:
To a deep pot, add in your oil, minced onion and garlic and fine thyme leaves and quick fry until fragrant. Then, add in your ground meat and cook on med heat until the meat is no longer pink. Be sure to break up any larger pieces of meat with your spatula.
Add in your (hidden) veggies – minced carrots and Brussel sprouts in my case – along with our spice blend. Mix everything together and let it all cook together for a few minutes.
With our base done we’ll add in the body of our chili which consists of the black beans (and liquid from the can), sweet corn, tomato sauce, stock, and jalapenos (if using). At this point we’ll bring our chili to a simmer and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to scrape the bottom of the pot.
Once our chili has simmered, we’ll add in our salt and sugar and remove our pot from the heat before adding in our final ingredient…
Our uncooked finely chopped (or minced) thick cut bacon. Simply add it into the pot and stir to evenly distribute. Then, cover your pot and let it rest for 10-15 minutes which will allow the bacon to cook in the residual heat of the just simmered chili and its fat and flavor will be able to render into our heavenly stew to give it a smoky richness.
And there you have it! A simple, hearty, 30-minute chili that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, or reserved for those chilly evenings when a warming meal just hits the spot!
Want to take things a step further? You can make this chili “yours” by adjusting the spices, the heat, or by adding in a little extra touch of special such as… 👇👇👇
What are some other ways to amp up the flavor?
- Dark chocolate / Cocoa powder: Add in a tbsp or two of good quality dark chocolate (I recommend 70% and up) or cocoa powder. A good tip is to sift in the cocoa powder or make it into a smooth slurry to avoid any lumps and ensure an even blend.
- Coffee: A tsp of espresso powder or a half cup of strongly brewed coffee adds a wonderful depth of flavor to your chili similar to adding in the dark chocolate/cocoa powder.
- Dried Fruit: Dried raisins or cranberries might be unconventional but they can add a layer of fruitiness and sweetness to your chili.
- An extra hit of acidity: While the tomato sauce adds great acidity and umami, you can add in a splash of vinegar (I highly recommend a fruity balsamic) or fresh lime juice.
- Soy Sauce: Replace the salt in your recipe with a touch of soy sauce to complement and amplify the tomato sauce’s umami flavor.
*Note: While these add-ins are all great options, I don’t recommend using them all in one pot. Opt instead to try one of the above suggestions at a time. And don’t forget about your toppings! Each topping is essentially an isolated layer of flavor and an element of texture that will help to round out your dish.
Top your chili with any or all of your favorite toppings including:
- Shredded cheese: Cheddar is a great go to, but other cheeses such as pepper jack or Colby also pair great with chili!
- Greek yogurt / sour cream.
- Chopped chives.
- Chopped fresh parsley.
- Fresh diced tomatoes.
- Diced jalapenos.
- Smoked paprika.
- Corn tortilla chips.
And while this chili is great on its own you can use it in several other ways!
Serve your chili on or with:
- Steamed brown rice.
- Cornbread Muffins or a piece of Jalapeno Cornbread.
- Make nachos by layering your chili over corn tortilla chips and topping with shredded cheese or a Nacho Cheese Sauce and any other topping you enjoy.
- Make chili tacos or burritos by pairing it with freshly made corn tortillas and topping with all your favorite fixings.
- Or keep it simple with a cheesy chili wrap by filling a corn tortilla with your chili and topping with shredded cheese.
- Make an indulgent Chili Mac (pictured above) by pairing it with my homemade mac and cheese (it’s a great gluten free meal!)
- Use it to top your baked potato.
- Add salad elements (such as lettuce or greens, avocado, tomatoes etc.) to it to make into a burrito bowl.
- Pair it with some steamed brown rice and use it as the filling for stuffed peppers.
Kitrusy's Chili Con Carne
- 2 tbsp extra light olive oil
- 1/2 small onion finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tsp fine thyme leaves only sticks discarded
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup carrots finely minced
- 1/2 cup fresh Brussels sprouts finely minced (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp chili powder or 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 30 oz black beans w/ liquid, (2 cans)
- 15 oz whole kernel sweet corn drained (1 can)
- 15 oz tomato sauce plain (1 can)
- 1/2 cup beef (bone) broth or stock
- 2 tbsp jalapenos chopped (optional)
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt to taste
- 1 tbsp raw cane sugar to taste (or honey)
- 2-3 strips thick cut bacon cut into very small bits
To top: Fresh parsley, cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Start your flavor base: In a large pot on med heat, add oil, onion, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant.
- Cook meat: Add your ground beef and cook until no longer pink, being sure to break up any larger crumbles.
- Add in spices (and minced veggies): Add in the chili powder, black and white pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano along with finely minced carrots and sprouts. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning and mixing occasionally.
- Add in the body of the chili: To the seasoned meat add in 2 cans of black beans (including the liquid), 1 drained can of sweet corn, 1 can plain tomato sauce, your beef broth/stock and the jalapenos. Simmer your chili (uncovered) for 10 min and season with salt and sugar to taste.
- Finally step: Add in your finely chopped bacon, stir to incorporate it, and turn off the heat. Cover your pot and let your chili sit and rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve and top with parsley, cheese and/or Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in airtight bags or containers in the fridge for up to six months.
- Adding in fresh Brussel sprouts is entirely optional but since it blends seamlessly into the chili and doesn't affect the flavor at all, it is a fantastic way to sneak in some hidden veggies! I highly recommend using fresh sprouts for this trick though, frozen sprouts won't blend as seamlessly and can affect the flavor slightly.
- Ensure your bacon is finely cut (you can even mince it). Doing so will allow it to not just cook (thanks to the residual heat of the just simmered chili) but it will allow it to melt away into an incredible, rich, smoky flavor enhancement.
- You can adjust all spices to suit your personal taste and preference.
Did you try this chili recipe? What would you rate it? Also, what sorts of things do you like to use to top or to add to your chili? Let us know by leaving a comment below or by reaching out to us on social media (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy). And don’t forget to snap and show off your pics by tagging us so we can celebrate your creations together!