Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Mr. S. and I have been married almost 33 years. We spent the first several years of wedded bliss in searching for the best chili recipe. We attended cookoffs, purchased recipe books, and searched the Internet for THE perfect recipe. We came across perfection quite by accident when a friend gave us a packet of Carol's Brown Bag Chili Mix. We made the pot of red by the recipe and then started our own trials. The recipe shown below is our final outcome. We still try out new seasonings and recipes, but we always come back to this:
The Perfect Chili Recipe.

Begin with 2 pounds of ground beef. I use the 83% lean because the leaner beef results in dry meat. Brown the meat until it begins to give up it's juices.

The ingredients!

Carol's Brown Bag Chili Mix

As the ground beef begins to brown, open the brown bag and all of the little packets inside. They are salt, chili seasoning, mesa, and ground hot pepper.

When the ground beef starts to look really yucky and give up its juices -

It's time to stir in the seasonings. Stir them directly into the beef. Watch the meat carefully as you stir in the seasoning because sometimes it will try to stick. Putting the seasonings directly into the meat not only gives the meat a great flavor, but will prevent the mesa and seasonings from the possible clumping that would occur if you made them into a slurry and then added them to the liquid. It also does a finer job of seasoning the meat.

Stir the seasonings into the meat really well.

Remove your peppers from the freezer so that they thaw just a bit. Since I made this batch of chili for wimpy guests, I cut way back on the peppers that I used.
For this recipe I used only 1 red habenero, 2 green jalapenos, and 4 dried peppers of unknown extraction.

I use only Bush's Chili Beans in my chili. Other brands don't have the same flavor. I formerly used Bush's Chili Hot Beans which were more flavorful, but apparently Bushs no longer manufactures them. I am only able to find Bush's Chili Beans in Hot Sauce. They are good, but don't taste quite the same. These beans are NOT hot, but have a wonderful taste. I add 3 cans. You can add more if you like chewy chili.

Put the beans in directly on top of the ground beef.
Now, add 3 quarts of diced tomatoes. If you add the tomatoes first, the beans will splash into the tomato juice and onto your shirt.

Add the peppers as desired. The easiest way to chop the peppers is when they are partially frozen. Use a pair of old scissors to make about 8 slits lengthways through the pepper, then dice using the same scissors. Do not remove the membrane or seeds.
The peppers that I use depend on what I have at the moment and who is coming for dinner.
At various times, I've used Tabasco peppers (don't use the sauce because you can taste it!), bird's eye, serano, chipotle, etc. Whatever else I use, I always add habeneros and jalapenos.

Stir in the peppers and allow the soup to simmer for several hours.
Chili is always better after the flavors have been allowed to marry; so, if you have time, prepare the chili the day before you plan to serve it.

Dish the chili into individual serving bowls.
Place dishes of sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips, more chopped peppers, etc. on the table and allow your diners to garnish their chili as they wish.

Serve with milk to cut the heat! The feast above is shown on our
Mug Mats
which are available from

1 comment:

Jane In The Jungle said...

I always us Bush Beans also! My 2nd son grew jalepenos, habaneros and seranos this summer so I'm adding peppers to everything!!