Chili is considered an American classic dish and each chili recipe has some interesting regional differences.

The chili made in the Seattle differs from the chili made in Cincinnati, OH and there are variations all through the United States. It is one of those dishes that you use whatever you have available as an ingredient. Therefore, a southwestern chili recipe might have jalapeno peppers added while Midwestern chili might have green bell peppers in it. No matter where it comes from, chili is definitely a comfort food. It doesn’t cost much to make and it comes together quite easily. Below are three different popular and different variations on American Chili that is good for dinner, lunch or as a main dish for a game party.

Regular Red Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can light kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can dark kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can beer (optional; use 3/4 cup water instead)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Hot sauce to taste

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until tender. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper it to taste, and thoroughly brown the meat. Drain all the grease out of the pan before proceeding. An easy way to drain most of the grease without losing the onions and garlic is to take a turkey baster and suck up the grease depositing it into a can to throw away later. Once the meat is browned, add the crushed tomatoes and drained beans. Add the beer carefully because it will foam up. Stir until the foam dissipates and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and add the sugar, chili powder and bay leaf. Let the chili simmer for about 20 minutes and remove the bay leaf. Taste and add hot sauce, if desired. You can also top with some shredded cheddar or include a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Dash of cayenne (optional)
  • Dash red pepper flakes (optional)

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, onions, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, beans, water, vegetable broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the cayenne or red pepper flakes. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve. You can also add some thawed frozen corn to give it a southwestern flavor.

Green Chicken Chili Recipe

  • 6 Anaheim chilies
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ¾ pounds raw chicken cut in strips or cubes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 6 slices of fresh lime

Preheat your broiler or use a grill. Cut the chilies in half and get rid of the seeds and membrane. Place skin side up on a foil covered baking sheet or on the grill and flatten them with the hand or a spatula. Broil or grill for 5 minutes or until the skin becomes black. Place in a heavy-duty zip-lock plastic bag and seal. Let stand 15 minutes then peel and chop the chilies and discard the skins. In a Dutch oven sauté chicken in olive oil until all sides are brown. Remove from the pan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until browned. Return the chicken to the pot and add the broth 1 ½ cups of the water and the cumin. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes and add the chopped chilies and the beans. In a cup combine ½ cup water with the flour and whisk into a paste. Stir this into the chili and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pour into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and lime slice.

Try all three chili dishes or pick the one you think your family will like the best. Serve them on a cold day to warm the body and soul or on a hot day to induce sweating to keep you nice and cool.