Just-Add-Beer Chili Con Carne
Katie Lee’s original version is really good. But can I say that mine is better? (I think everyone says that about their chili). Can I brag and say it won a chili competition? It did! Okay it was a work-related competition that my daughter’s friend entered using this recipe. She won! I guess that means I kind of won a chili competition. One of these days, though…
Here’s the main reason for my best-ever claim. Katie adds corn to her recipe and I don’t. Corn just doesn’t work for me. Cornbread–that’s a whole different story but not corn.
And I skip the ground pork. Couple of reasons for that. One is, ground pork isn’t so easy for me to find. Every other kind of pork is, but not ground. I could stand around and order it, but I’m always too rushed for that.
So, I make up the pork with an extra can of beans.
I also don’t add tomato paste. I use 14 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes becauuse I love that fire-roasted flavor. And about 1/2 a box of beef broth (16 oz or so) goes in the pot, too.
Don’t forget the beer
NEVER ever forget to add the beer. I kept the beer in the recipe because I think adding a bottle (or can) of beer may just be the magic bullet for its deliciousness. The strong flavored beer MAKESthis chili con carne recipe (Guiness is great), but any regular beer will work. Stay away from the light beer, though–not enough flavor in it. Katie uses Heineken. That’s a good one, too.
I also use about 3 cups of beef broth or so. I buy a boxed version (paying attention to the sodium content). I like Kitchen Basics branch but there of plenty of good brands out there.
Before I freeze the leftover broth (freezes great in a freezer Ziploc), I make sure the chili doesn’t get too thick. If so, I dilute it with a little broth. So wait to freeze the broth.
Also, I’ve been known to swap out the fresh green pepper for a couple tablespoons of a dried diced version in a pinch. It works! So does 1 teaspoon of garlic powder but try to use the real deal. It’s tastes better and is healthier for you, too.
If by chance your chili is too watery, take the lid off the pot and let it simmer so some of the liquid can evaporate. Just an FYI.
What makes this recipe special?
The beer, of course. The alcohol, by the way, evaporates during cooking, leaving a nice rich flavor behind (in case you were worried).
One other ingredient adding to the specialness of this chile con carne is the adobo chili pepper. It comes in a can and can be found in the Mexican or International food aisle of most grocery stores.
Regarding the adobo peppers. PLEASE please pay attention here. Only use ONE pepper from the can (NOT the entire can). Those babies are SPICY! They are smokey-flavored jalapenos in a can so be careful. I freeze the leftover chilis for a future pot of chili. They freeze great and are easy to break off and then chop for your next batch.
Adjust to taste
It’s an easy recipe to adjust to your taste. If you’d like your Just-Add-Beer Chili Con Carne a little bit spicier, feel free to use a spicier chili powder or add more chipole pepper (be careful with that one, though. Once again, it’s screamin’ HOT!).
Are you a garlic lover? Go for it and add an extra clove (or take a couple away if you’re not). As for the beans, I used canned beans, whatever I happen to have on hand (or leave them out). I’ve been known to add white navy beans, pinto beans, red kidney–it ends up looking like a calico chili but is still delish!
This chili can easily become meatless by adding an extra can or two of drained beans.
Grand Finale Toppings
If you want to top your chili with some sharp shredded cheddar, sour cream, or jalapeno (if it’s not hot enough for you), all would be welcome additions. Serve it with a freshly tossed salad and piping hot corn bread…Yum!
It’s delicious, it warms the belly, and is always a requested recipe when the weather turns to “chili season.”
Just Add Beer Chili Con Carne
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1½ pounds ground beef (I use ground round or sirloin)
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (ONE pepper)
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1-2 Tablespoons regular chili powder
- 1-2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 beer I unusually use a dark beer but any regular beer will work (not light beer)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cans black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can fired-roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups beef broth (I use a boxed version and add more if chili is too thick)
- 2 teaspoons seasoning salt or plain salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- HEAT olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- ADD the onion, garlic, and green pepper. COOK until the onion is translucent, approximately 5-8 minutes or so.
- ADD the ground beef to the pan, and COOK until browned, about 10 minutes. DRAIN and RETURN meat to pan.
- ADD the chipotle pepper, taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. STIR.
- ADD the beer, bay leaf, beans, tomatoes, and broth. COOK for about 10 minutes, uncovered, for beer to evaporate.
- COVER, REDUCE heat to a simmer, and COOK for at least one hour. TASTE and ADD salt and pepper if needed.
- UNCOVER and SIMMER another 30 minutes to allow some liquid to evaporate (makes for a thicker chili).