Beef and Three Bean Chili Recipe

Beef and Three Bean Chili

I admit that I’m not much of a football fan, but all this talk about the Superbowl has been making me crave chili! Since I almost always have ingredients on hand to throw together a quick pot of chili beans, it was very easy to satisfy my craving last night.

Although I prefer to to use as many fresh ingredients in my cooking as possible, I always have a variety of canned beans and canned tomatoes on hand. Pair those two ingredients with some ground beef (or just skip the meat altogether), chopped fresh veggies, and some good quality chili powder and you’ve got an easy, healthy, hearty and inexpensive meal that just about everyone loves!

For this batch of chili I used kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans because I think it’s fun to mix things up a bit. But you can really use any kind of beans you like or whatever you find knocking around your own pantry.

You can think of this chili recipe as a guideline and then put your own twist on it.  You can use more meat, less meat, no meat or you can swap the beef for some ground turkey!  If you want to leave the meat out, why not add an extra can of beans?  You could also add more onions and pepper and maybe even throw in some chopped carrots for some more color.  It’s entirely up to you!

So since this batch of chili will be finished before Superbowl Sunday, it looks like I’ll have to come up with some other things to make for game day.  I don’t even know who’s playing, but I always use the Superbowl as an excuse to make (and eat) lots of unhealthy snack food!  What are the rest of you planning on making?

Beef and Three Bean Chili

2  tablespoons olive oil
one large yellow onion, chopped
one green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
two cloves of garlic, minced
one large jalapeno, minced (seeds and all)
one pound of ground beef (I used 85% lean)
3 tablespoons chili powder*
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder**
2 teaspoons cumin
1 cup of your favorite beer (I used a pale ale)
one 14.5 oz. can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes***
one 14.5 oz. can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes****
one can of water (just fill an empty tomato can with water)
one small can of tomato paste
one can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
one can of black beans, drained and rinsed
one can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups of frozen corn (optional)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, cook onion and pepper in olive oil until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, for another minute, then add ground beef. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, just until meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat from the pan then return to heat.

2. Add the two chili powders and cumin, and cook the spices and the meat together, stirring, for half a minute or so. Add the beer, stir, and allow to cook while you open all the cans and drain and rinse the beans.  Add all the tomatoes, one can of water (just fill an empty tomato can with water), tomato paste, and beans; stir well.  Bring mixture up to a slow boil then turn the heat down to low and simmer, partially covered, for about an hour.

3. As the chili simmers, stir it occasionally, and taste to see if you need/want more chili powder or cumin (don’t add salt until it’s done cooking).  Once chili has reached the thickness you like, stir in the frozen corn and cook for a few more minutes, then add salt to taste.  Eat immediately or wait for it to cool then refrigerate overnight.  The chili tastes even better the next day!  It can also be frozen.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Notes: *Feel free to use more or less chili powder depending on your preference. I probably used more than 3 T, but some people prefer a lot less! **optional, or can substitute one tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo. ***they don’t have to be fire-roasted, that’s just what I had on hand. ****You could substitute one large (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes for the two smaller cans of diced/crushed tomatoes.  This chili did not seem spicy to me at all, but if you are making it for kids (or really wimpy adults), you can make these changes: remove all the seeds from the jalapeno before chopping (or leave it out altogether), leave out the chipotle chili powder, reduce regular chili powder to 2 tablespoons.

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  1. Matt Solomon

    Excellent recipe! I love the blog, my wife and I cook your recipes all the time. I would like to ask a question: what in the world is that delicious looking roll in the bowl with the chili? It looks fantastic!

    5:00 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  2. Nicole

    Matt: That is a cheddar herb knot. It’s kind of a long story but I made some buttermilk dinner rolls the other night and for the first time I completely made up the dough recipe as I was going. The problem was that I forgot to add any butter (or fat of any kind) to the dough and the rolls ended up being kind of dry and boring. Instead of baking an entire batch of rolls that night, I had saved half the dough and let it have a slow overnight rise in the fridge. So last night, I tried to improve on the previous night’s dry dinner rolls by creating those cheddar herb knots. They were better, but still not the greatest! And they were a complete experiment, just like the original dough 🙂

    5:05 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  3. Ruby

    This looks great Nicole. I know you are not one for fresh onions, but I bet they would make this dish extra special, with lots of cheese on top!
    Also, I LOVE watching the Superbowl! It’s fun, lots of excitement and energy!
    Go Cardinals!! 🙂
    (I really don’t have a preference this year, so I thought I’d root for the underdog)
    Nice to see you posting again! 🙂

    5:15 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  4. Rebecca

    I was going to ask the same thing about the knot. Do us favor, please, and keep experimenting then post the recipe when it’s the bomb. It already looks great…the taste can’t be far behind!

    6:13 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  5. Amber

    So nice to have you back!

    We’re not doing anything for SuperBowl because my husband just had back surgery. I suppose I should get some bits and pieces for us to have a fun food day here, but the idea of going to the grocery store on Saturday or Sunday does not please me.

    Maybe I’ll get up early tomorrow and go.. but then again, maybe not… 🙂

    8:10 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  6. kickpleat

    I hope you’ve had a restful break from blogging! This chili looks amazing…it’s funny because I don’t watch football at all, but something about the Superbowl makes me want chili. I think it’s because chili recipes abound! Welcome back 🙂

    10:54 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  7. Janet

    I have been trying all week to get tickets for the Super Bowl–but it looks like I will be staying home to watch the game. This chili recipe looks like it will will be great to take to the Super Bowl party that I will be attending. Sometimes I like to throw in a little whole wheat macaroni with my chili too. It gives the chili a little more depth. Thanks for the recipe and GO…..STEELERS!!!

    12:49 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  8. Maggy

    I happen to be making chili tonight! Will amend my recipe now : ) Anything with beer in it has to be good. And by the way, nice to have you back!

    1:05 am  Jan 30th, 2009
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  10. iduro

    yeah you’re back, my morning food porn was not complete without a visit to your site!

    8:13 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  11. Nicole

    Ruby: You know I won’t put raw onions on my chili! But I do like lots of cheddar cheese, sour cream and sometimes some crumbled up Ritz crackers 🙂 Oh, and corn bread on the side!
    Rebecca: I’ll definitely keep working on some bread recipes!
    Amber: I don’t blame you for not wanting to go to the store this weekend, I’m dreading it myself! I hope your husband is doing well and that he has a speedy recovery!
    kickpleat: I don’t watch football at all either, but just hearing people talk about football food makes me want to have a party 🙂
    Janet: Thanks for the w.w. macaroni tip! That sounds right up my alley!
    Maggy: I agree…beer makes lots of things better! 🙂
    Iduro: Thanks! I’m happy to be back too!

    8:27 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  12. Phoo-d

    Looks great! We’re making a chili with buffalo meat, garlicky potato skins, and stir fried edamame with garlic and chile. I can’t wait!

    8:29 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  13. Desmone007

    Great recipe…I’m sure it will be a hit this Sunday! I just came across your blog and I would love a link to it from our site, You can create inbound links from our site using these Blogger tools. Also please feel free to share any recipes and tips with us. Thanks!

    By the way I loved your Dark Chocolate Cherry Chews!

    9:29 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  14. janelle

    I adore how forgiving chili is AND I love making big batches and freezing them in individual portions. Makes for a protein-packed lunch!

    10:13 am  Jan 30th, 2009
  15. Mrs. L

    Heck with the Superbowl, this sounds perfect to make a batch of on the weekend so I have good food to take to work during the week! (though I will probably add onions and cheese too 🙂

    12:20 pm  Jan 30th, 2009
  16. Tamanna

    Oh my goodness! Does this look scrumptious or what? I love the three bean recipe and the ground beef a perfect combination. This will be a hearty meal.

    1:23 pm  Jan 30th, 2009
  17. Christy

    I always have stuck to kidney beans in my chili, which to be honest are not my fav. Have to give mixing the beans up a try for sure! Perfect timing too as I am looking for lots of recipes that freeze well, so I can stock for freezer for when baby comes.


    2:52 pm  Jan 30th, 2009
  18. Nick

    I was starting to get worried that you were going on a Twitter only blog regime.

    Very happy to see PMS back in action.

    Wait a second…. is that on purpose? 🙂


    10:16 pm  Jan 30th, 2009
  19. The Duo Dishes

    The chipotle, chili powder and jalapeno have got to make this nice and spiiicy! Love it. The best thing about chili is that you can take canned goodies and make it taste like you slaved for hours. No one has to know! 🙂

    1:12 pm  Jan 31st, 2009
  20. maris

    This sounds so good! I love chili anmd have been looking for a new recipe to try. I like white bean chili and I recently made one with chicken but I’m definitely on the look out for a good, classic recipe.

    8:20 am  Feb 1st, 2009
  21. Nicole

    Phoo-d I still haven’t tried buffalo meat! I almost bought some at the store last week but it was pretty expensive. But maybe I’ll give it a try in my next batch of chili! We’re making potato skins, too! Your stir-fried edamame sounds absolutely delicous!
    Desmone007 Thanks!
    Janelle: Great idea freezing it in individual serving sizes! I’ll definitely do that next time!
    Mrs. L: Yes, this is more of an every day type dish for us. We’ll be eating ribs and lots of finger foods for the superbowl 🙂
    Tamanna: Thanks! I hope you enjoy it!
    Christy: If you aren’t a huge kidney bean fan, you should just skip them altogether! This is a perfect recipe for making ahead and freezing!
    Nick: I was starting to worry about that, too. But I’m looking forward to lots of blogging in February! And no, the PMS thing was not on purpose…I didn’t even realize it until about a year after I named my blog. But I’ve totally embraced the acronym! 🙂
    The Duo Dishes: It has a bit of spice, but it’s definitely mild enough for most people. You could add more fresh jalapeno and some extra chipotle to make it even spicier 🙂
    Maris: I’ve never made white chili with chicken, but I’m going to give it a try one of these days. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

    8:58 am  Feb 1st, 2009
  22. Scott at Realepicurean

    I definitely need to make my own chilli; it is VERY cold here right now.

    10:46 am  Feb 1st, 2009
  23. Tartelette

    Nicole: it’s on the stove right now…for real!! Except without corn because I forgot to pick up a can…
    I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    11:50 am  Feb 1st, 2009
  24. Neva

    I made a batch of this – I used ground turkey, added some more chili powder (I used a hot variety) and a Thai chili pepper I grew this summer…made it nice and spicy. I took some up to my folks house and it was very well received. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    10:42 pm  Feb 1st, 2009
  25. My First Kitchen

    I use that bean combo, too, and it’s so tasty. I recently made our go-to chili (which is quite similar to yours) with ground bison. Wow. AWEsome. I’m not sure I’ll make it with turkey or beef again.

    7:32 am  Feb 2nd, 2009
  26. Lynette

    This chili looks great can’t wait to try it thanks for the recipe.

    8:02 am  Feb 2nd, 2009
  27. Emily

    You have such great recipes! We’d love it if you’d join our recipe card swap!

    Check it out! Share your recipes and get some new ones to try!

    2:04 pm  Feb 3rd, 2009
  28. Biz

    Oh, that looks delicious! Chili is one thing I’ve not quite achieved. That and scalloped potatoes!

    3:56 pm  Feb 3rd, 2009
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  31. Leah

    Made this tonight. It was great! I made it lenten, though, so I added an extra can of beans and left out the meat. I can’t wait to try it WITH meat! I like my food spicy, but this was perfect – just a subtle kick. I love the depth that the fire-roasted tomatoes and chipotle powder add. Thanks!

    6:45 pm  Feb 25th, 2009
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  34. CityHomeGirl

    I just found a cool article on beans… I’m sharing.


    5:06 pm  Mar 6th, 2009
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  37. CG

    Just made the chili and it looks awesome. I added some squash and carrots to the mix. Overall the recipe is really solid, so thanks! Can’t wait to top my cornbread with some!

    4:29 pm  Feb 27th, 2010
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    My Husband likes chili beans as a side dish. I can have them as entree. Any ideas what I can make as a entree that would go great with this awesome chili bean recipe?

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  51. Trevor

    I’m making a double batch right now, and it smells awesome! I’m making a double so I can have enough for everyone at my work and my family.
    Just for reference, I did double to the recipe for ingredients and it fits perfectly in a 8qt pot.

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