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Soup is my passion. 



A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Signature Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili

Servings: 5



This chili recipe is totally budget-friendly and I bet youíve got nearly all the ingredients for it already in the house. Start by browning 1lb ground beef with 1 large chopped shallot or 1 small onion, 2 cloves garlic, salt, and pepper in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven. If youíre going the crock pot route then brown the beef mixture in a skillet and then add it to a 5-6 quart crock pot.



1lb ground beef
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
29oz can tomato sauce
15oz can Bushís Vegetarian Baked Beans
15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1-2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more or less)
Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, tortilla chips, sour cream

Cooking Method

1.   Brown ground beef, shallot or onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2.   Crock Pot Cooking Instructions: Transfer ground beef mixture to a 5 or 6 quart crock pot then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine (can be done ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready to start cooking.) Place a lid on top then cook on low for 4-6 hours.


Next add a 29oz can tomato sauce, 15oz can baked beans, and 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed. For whatever reason Iíve always used Bushís Vegetarian Baked Beans in my signature chili, but you can use whatever kind you like best. I just love how the baked beans add a touch of sweetness!


Now add all the spices that turn tomato sauce and beans into Signature Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili. Youíll need 3 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon each salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon (or more or less) cayenne pepper.

The smoked paprika gives this chili a totally unique flavor and plays well off the smoky/spicy chili and cayenne powders. Mmm!


Now for the piece de resistance: 1-2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar. The chili tastes completely different without the brown sugar so if you like a subtle sweetness in your chili then youíve just got to go for it! Trust me, it will not make your chili taste like candy. Itís all about balance between spicy, smoky, and sweet.


Place a lid on top then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring two or three times. Alternatively, stir everything together in the crock pot then cook on low for 4-6 hours. If youíre around you can give it a stir a few times, but itíll be ok in there if you canít stir it. I tried letting the chili slow cook for 8 hours but it reduced down a bit too much and some of the flavors got lost. Stick with 4-6 and youíll be set.


This chili also freezes GREAT. Simply let it cool completely then scoop into a freezer bag and freeze flat. To reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat on the stove.


When itís time to eat, scoop the chili into bowls (these little crocks are from Benís Chili Bowl in D.C.!) then top with melted cheese, chopped green onions, and tortilla chips for crunch!

819 Mountshire Terrace, Chester, Virginia 23836 Phone: (804) 530-1183