A college basic. Feed many on little; the ingredients cost perhaps $20 to make dinner for 6 starving students. The beer to quench the fire might cost more!


  • 5 cups pinto or kidney beans
  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 28 ounces stewed chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups onions, diced
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika, (sweet, not hot, unless you have strong competitive friends!)
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons chili powder, depending on spiciness desired
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1 to 4 minced tomatillo peppers, optional, but a nice addition


Soak the beans overnight, changing the water at least once. Drain, then add water to cover, and start cooking the beans in an 8-quart pot for 2 hours. Do not add salt, which will toughen the beans!

Brown the beef and pork in large pan, add the onions and sauté until clear, then add the remaining ingredients including only 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Simmer for 2 hours, and adjust the salt and the chili powder levels to get the heat you want. Remember that the dish will get hotter as it cooks (and also in the refrigerator), so I check the seasoning after an hour, then adjust it on the cautious side.

Stir the cooked pinto beans into the chili base, let sit for a half hour if you can, and serve garnished with diced onion, sour cream, yogurt and/or grated cheese.


The chili powder makes the flavor, so use the best you can find. I love to use Ancho chilés, or any kind that has been roasted on a fire. For even deeper flavor, you can use dried chilés from a Mexican or South American market, soak them for a half-hour in warm water, then chop finely. Add gradually and taste frequently, you don't want to kill your friends' interest in spicy food!

Fresh cumin and oregano makes a big difference too.

Basic, Chili
MacGourmet downloadChili MIT. To import, drag image to your MacGourmet recipe box.