Feb 2, 2009

Kay’s Chili Con Carne

Spur of the moment posting! It wasn’t until after I already chopped the bell peppers, chili pepper and onion that I spontaneously decided to grab my camera and turn it into a quick photo posting. The photos aren’t great because, well, I was in a hurry (dinner time) and didn’t have time for a proper set up, but you’ll get the idea!

This is really simple and basic food—the type of food that pops up at our dinner table on a regular basis. But in all honesty; it’s the kind of food I like best.

If you don’t like spicy foods, you can tone it down by leaving out the chili pepper.


1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato paste (5 oz)
2 tbsp chili seasoning
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 large garlic clove
1 can brown beans (15 oz)
1 chili pepper
1 small can corn
2 bell peppers
1 large onion
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa


The winter has been so long and cold this year. I’m starting to long for those sunshine filled days at the park again. It’ll be the last summer my munchkin and I can go to the park whenever we feel like it—he’ll start school next year. Not looking forward to it at all. The house will be so empty.

Winter weather does make for some nice hearty stews and other dishes, like my Dutch winter stew. Chili con carne is also one of those typical winter dishes for me.

I’ve washed and cut up 2 bell peppers. Still had half a yellow and half a red pepper in the fridge. Combined with the green pepper it made me feel like I was in Jamaica! Ya man! I’ve also coarsely chopped up a large onion, grated a large garlic clove and chopped a (de-seeded) chili pepper.

I’m cheating; using pre-seasoned ground beef that my butcher shop sells. Shortcuts are always good! Normally I would have seasoned the meat with 1 tsp salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp curry & paprika powder.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the meat. Not for too long; just until it loses its redness. It doesn’t have to be browned. If there’s a lot of fat lurking at the bottom, drain at least some of it. Your hips and arteries will thank you.

Add the bell peppers, onions, chili pepper and garlic at the same time. If you don’t like really spicy food or your seasoning mix is hot enough for you, just omit the chili pepper. If you like it really spicy, be brave and leave the seeds in.

Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent. It really does look cheerful, doesn’t it!

I have to be careful now. I have two different types of chili seasoning; a Mexican flavored type of seasoning and one so spicy it’ll make you choke, cough and weep at the same time. I’ve used the wrong jar once; it was traumatizing! Having a toddler who does like spicy foods, I’m still opting for just the Mexican flavor so I double check the spice jars :)

I’ve actually made the mexican blend myself on several occasions, but I really do prefer store bought. Odd, I know.

Once your onions are translucent, add 2 tbsp chili seasoning, the tomato paste (I’ve used a 5 oz can), 2 tsp oregano, 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tbsp vinegar. This creates a great balance. Give everything a good stir and cook for about a minute to neutralize the tomato paste.

I’ve added 1 tsp salt. I always start with 1/2 a tsp and see how it tastes before adding more, 1 tsp is often the right amount for me.

Now this is the difference between a good chili con carne and a great chili con carne. Cocoa powder. It gives the dish a richness you won’t believe, without making it taste like chocolate. Add the cocoa powder per 1/2 a tsp and stir well to prevent it from clumping. If the idea of cocoa powder in your chili freaks you out, go for 1 tsp first!

Stir in 1 1/2 cup of water, put the lid on and simmer, over low heat, for 15 minutes.

Drain your beans of choice. We love using a regular (15 oz) can of brown beans here, but use whatever you like. I always add a small can of corn as well. Simply love the sweetness and crispiness the corn adds. It also takes on the flavor of the dish, so it completely blends in.

After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, you only have to check the seasoning and add the beans & corn. Simmer for another 10 minutes. The light over my stove is bad, bad, bad for photos.

This is such a simple but hearty meal. You can eat it as is, serve it with cornbread or rice. Other thing you can do is be a freak like me and eat it with mashed potatoes!


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    1. 1

      Mmmmm…looks delish…I don’t eat beef though… cld I make dis substitutg d beef with soya granules?Poor lite or not- ur pics r fab :)

      Tana on Feb 2, 2009 @ 11:15 am Reply
    2. 2

      Tana, I’ve never eaten soya granules in my life, so I wouldn’t know. But I’d try it if I were you. I’m always the first to substitute things :)

      I’ll be glad when springs comes so I’ll have more light in my kitchen again.

      Kay on Feb 2, 2009 @ 11:26 am Reply
    3. 3

      Wow, this looks sooo good! I’d never in a thousand years think of using cocoa powder in anything other than sweet stuff. When I try this recipe, I’m definitely going to have to make sure no one sees me use the cocoa powder because then they won’t try it. Bunch of fuddy duds!!

      Nikki Jean on Feb 2, 2009 @ 12:43 pm Reply
    4. 4

      We love chili around here. Leave out the chili pepper? Never! This looks great and I love the idea of using cocoa – I’ve heard of adding coffee, but I bet cocoa would be even better. Thanks!

      Karen (KayKay) on Feb 2, 2009 @ 5:09 pm Reply
    5. 5

      I am so going to try the cocoa, thanks! In stead of rice or bread I usually serve with cucumbersalad which makes it all a bit lighter.

      Lisa on Feb 2, 2009 @ 5:24 pm Reply
    6. 6

      This looks off the charts good – Love cozy comfort food!!

      Cathy on Feb 2, 2009 @ 6:36 pm Reply
    7. 7

      OOO I was thinkingof making chili this week. I’m going to try your recipe. I use cocoa in my other chili recipe. It adds a nice richness to it. I have to hide it too Nikki Jean. If they see me putting that in then they will have made up their minds right there they won;t like it. Fuddy duddy is right.

      Randi on Feb 2, 2009 @ 7:14 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Oh baby that looks good. I have my own chili recipe I’ve perfected over the years. I might have to switch it up and try cocoa powder one of these days, just for fun. :-) My chili recipe calls for 5 jalapeno peppers, with seeds. We like spicy around here. :-)

      naomig on Feb 2, 2009 @ 7:19 pm Reply
    9. 9

      I wish jalapeno peppers weren’t so hard to come by here, Naomig!

      Kay on Feb 2, 2009 @ 10:18 pm Reply
    10. 10

      Hi, am from the Asian country, such dish is good to have it with what?? with bread? rice?

      New Kid On The Blog on Feb 3, 2009 @ 1:47 am Reply
    11. 11

      Chocolate in chili.. been doing it for years and it is so yummy -gives a taste and smell and richness beyond belief… plus cardamon and cinnamon…..

      Yesterday we made a green chili pork stew (roasted anaheims, jalapenos) the 1st time.. awesome !!!!. With the aroma and tasting, chocolate would not be misplaced in this dish…

      … I could smell it calling :D

      medstudentwife on Feb 3, 2009 @ 5:13 am Reply
    12. 12

      Oh no, this is simply irresistable!

      Mrs Ergül on Feb 3, 2009 @ 8:01 am Reply
    13. 13

      Karen, would have to try the coffee thing. Not sure I’d like it because, well, I like to drink coffee and make a dessert out of it on rare ocassions, but in my chili? I’ll give it a try!

      Kay on Feb 3, 2009 @ 12:07 pm Reply
    14. 14

      New kid on the blog, it really depends. I like to eat mine with mashed potatoes, but the men around here like it with corn bread, rice or even plain bread.

      Kay on Feb 3, 2009 @ 12:09 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Kay, I’ve added the coffee before as well. It’s not what you think. It brings a richness much like the cocoa does. I’ve made ribs with coffee too and they were wonderful. I’m going to have to find that recipe again now that I’m talking (salivating) about it.

      Randi on Feb 3, 2009 @ 7:00 pm Reply
    16. 16

      Randi, I assume you’re talking about instant coffee?

      Kay on Feb 3, 2009 @ 7:14 pm Reply
    17. 17

      Kay, it uses ground coffee. I’m looking at it now and these are the ingredients (I feel a little awkward posting a recipe on your site):

      It makes a paste/rub. marinate 24 hrs and grill or slow bake at low heat about 2 hours: Cinnamon too!

      1/4 cup ground coffee, beans, (not instant)
      3 tbsp packed brown sugar
      2 tbsp chili powder
      2 tbsp paprika
      1 tbsp salt
      2 tsp ground cumin
      1/2 tsp cinnamon
      1/2 tsp ginger
      2 tbsp vegetable oil

      I made your ribs from the other day. We are having them tomorrow :)

      Randi on Feb 4, 2009 @ 6:36 am Reply
    18. 18

      Thanks for the recipe! That’s the fun part, Randi! Exchanging recipes and ideas. It’s what I love about cooking and especially about food blogs :)

      Really have to give this a try … never cooked with coffee before and am curious what the flavor does.

      Kay on Feb 4, 2009 @ 7:58 am Reply
    19. 19

      Beans! Doncha know real chili doesn’t have beans?!
      that’s what my husband says. I put beans in mine, too.

      Always looking for new chili recipes. Great to eat on a rainy day. Which should be tomorrow!! Thanks again Kay.

      Kat on Feb 4, 2009 @ 11:06 pm Reply
    20. 20

      Made it tonight and loved it! It’s sweeter and milder than the usual around here and I find that works for me. It was so thick I ate it alone. Can’t handle much starch! Thanks!

      Lindie on Feb 5, 2009 @ 5:11 am Reply
    21. 21

      I know, Kat! But it’s just sooooooo boring without beans and corn :)

      Kay on Feb 5, 2009 @ 12:05 pm Reply
    22. 22

      Were you ever in Cincinnati? They are known for their chili there and the secret is cocoa. They have made chili with cocoa for years.

      You can have it what they call two-ways with beans, three ways with beans and spaghetti, four ways with beans, spaghetti and onions and five ways with beans, spaghetti, onions and cheese. Chili restaurants all over the town there.

      Some of them add coffee to the chili as well as the cocoa and that also works just fine.

      Only difference with yours is the corn. Haven’t seen it with corn there but would not be surprised if they do that as well.

      I make my chili just like yours except I do the meat and veggies the other way around. I sweat the veggies first and then add the meat to that, cook the meat just enough to lose the red and then add the spices.

      dick on Feb 8, 2009 @ 7:17 am Reply
    23. 23

      Hi, since you write your blog in English, i almost feel obliged to comment in English too, in spite of my usual Dutch :-).
      I made the chili, but without the chili pepper, partially on purpose ( i also did not have one around at the time). It turned out really nice, i liked the cacoa. Next time i will put the chili in.
      I visited your other blog also, you do make nice pictures too!
      Greetings, Monique (from Vlaardingen)

      Monique on Feb 8, 2009 @ 8:16 pm Reply
    24. 24

      That chili looks nice and colourful and good!

      Kevin on Feb 11, 2009 @ 1:44 pm Reply
    25. 25

      This looked amazing so I gave it a whirl…it was absolutely delicious!!

      Nikki on Mar 14, 2009 @ 8:12 pm Reply

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