The Ultimate Classic Chili Recipe for Year-Round Comfort

Chili - a timeless, hearty, and incredibly versatile dish, cherished by many for its comforting embrace. If you're seeking the quintessential chili experience to savor after a long day, then look no further. While numerous chili recipes demand hours of simmering, our best-ever beef chili can be whipped up in just 40 minutes. Moreover, this classic masterpiece transcends its role as a mere weeknight dinner; it's your go-to for feeding a crowd effortlessly. Stick around as we unveil the secrets to crafting the perfect chili for any occasion, regardless of the season.

 Unveiling the Secret to the Perfect Chili: It's All About the Spice

A fantastic chili's defining characteristic lies in its intricate flavor profile, and that's largely thanks to the medley of spices at play. Chili connoisseurs swear by an array of spices, including unexpected choices like cocoa and mustard powder. However, here at Delish, we've honed in on four key spices that consistently deliver a delectable chili: chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and paprika.

Ingredients to Craft Your Culinary Masterpiece

To create this classic chili, gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can of kidney beans, drained
  • Shredded cheddar, sour cream, and sliced scallions for garnish

Crafting the Perfect Classic Chili - A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Sautéing Aromatic Goodness

Begin by heating a generous pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, followed by the finely chopped white onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns slightly softened and takes on a translucent sheen, which should take around 5 minutes. Next, introduce the finely minced garlic, and sauté until its fragrance permeates the kitchen, approximately 1 more minute. 

Add the tomato paste, ensuring it coats the vegetables evenly. Now, it's time to introduce the star of the show, the ground beef. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it loses its pink hue, a process that typically takes about 7 minutes. Should you notice any excess fat, be sure to drain it away.

Step 2: Spice It Up

With the groundwork laid, it's time to infuse your chili with its distinctive flavors. Add chili powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, paprika, and cayenne (if you're up for some extra heat). Don't hold back on the seasoning - generously season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now, pour in the crushed tomatoes and the drained kidney beans. 

Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer. Stir occasionally, giving the flavors time to meld and the liquid to slightly reduce, which usually takes around 20 minutes. Taste your creation and adjust the salt and pepper levels if needed.

Step 3: The Perfect Presentation

Ladle your chili into bowls, and it's time for the finishing touches. Top each serving with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and a garnish of sliced scallions.

This classic chili recipe isn't just for your average weeknight dinner; it's your ticket to culinary stardom. With its robust flavor profile, quick preparation time, and adaptability for serving large gatherings, it's a year-round favorite. Whether you're seeking comfort on a cold winter night or hosting a summer cookout, this classic chili has got you covered.