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Weeknight Beef Chili

 Oil or butter
 1 lb ground beef
 1 white onion, finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 tbsp spice blend: equal parts chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder (or use store-bought fajita spice blend). Save extra in fridge.
 1 tsp salt
 2 - 3 cups peeled cubed squash or sweet potato
 1 qt (4 cups) chopped tomatoes (if using frozen, allow to thaw and include juices)
 2 cups cooked beans (pinto, navy, kidney, cranberry, or black beans), rinsed drained (~ 1 can drained)
 1.5 cups stock
 1 pt (2 cups) salsa (our Grilled Heirloom Tomato salsa was perfect!)
 1 pt (2 cups) sweet corn kernels (if using frozen, thaw and drain)
 Toppings-- grated cheese, avocado, sour cream or yogurt, cilantro

Finely chop 1 onion, and mince 2 cloves of garlic.


Brown 1 lb ground beef in a little oil or butter in your soup pot or enameled Dutch oven (4 qt or greater.)


Remove the mostly cooked meat to a plate, & keep drippings in pot.


Cook onion over medium-low in drippings for 2 minutes, then add garlic for 1 more minute. Add 1 tbsp of seasoning blend and the 1 tsp of salt. Stir and allow the spices to bloom for 1-2 minutes. Save any extra spice blend you mixed up in the fridge for another use--taco night!


Add in the cubed squash or sweet potatoes, stir well, cover and cook for 10 minutes to soften.


Add in the quart of tomatoes with juices, the beans, the stock, the salsa and the beef. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 30 min - or up to 1 hour covered.


Remove cover and add in corn. If you want to thin the chili, add some water or stock. Simmer for 15 - 30 min uncovered and serve warm with your favorite toppings-- grated cheese, chunks of avocado, minced cilantro, extra hot sauce.


If you want to make it the day ahead, allow to cool and then refrigerate. When ready to serve, allow to warm up on counter for 30 minutes and then reheat on stove till hot throughout. Add extra water or stock to thin if necessary.