This is our favorite go-to chili recipe. I make this several times during the winter season and often throughout the year. The flavor is incredible and made that much better by cracking a cold one and pouring it right in! The spices blend perfectly with the crisp, smoothness of a good lager. I love to make my chili in the crockpot, allowing it to simmer throughout the day which enhances the flavor and gives the spices a chance to immerse themselves into the beef. I have the best buttermilk cornbread recipe to go with this chili so read on!
Now you absolutely do not have to add beer to this chili recipe. It is delicious with or without it, but the beer gives this chili a richness and bold flavor it wouldn’t have otherwise. If you choose not to add beer to the chili, I recommend replacing the beer with 1 ½ cups of chicken or beef stock. I do recommend a lager since it’s a lighter beer and the smoothness provides a good balance with the spices. For an even richer taste, you can opt for a porter or a stout.
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
8 to 10 garlic cloves, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 pounds lean ground beef
⅓ cup chili powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground black peppercorn
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce jar tomato sauce
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans
1 12-ounce can or bottle of beer
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to high heat. Add onions, garlic, and pepper, stir continuously, and cook for about 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add ground beef to pot and cook until beef is no longer pink. If necessary, drain beef mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder and remaining spices and herbs. Pour evenly over beef mixture and stir will. Add crushed tomatoes and sauce, stir to combine.
Increase the heat to high and stir in beans. Slowly pour in beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low to medium temperature and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
To make in the crockpot:
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to high heat. Add onions, garlic, and pepper, stir continuously, and cook for about 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add ground beef to pot and cook until beef is no longer pink. If necessary, drain beef mixture. Transfer to crockpot. In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder and remaining spices and herbs. Pour evenly over beef mixture and stir will. Add crushed tomatoes and sauce, stir to combine. Add beans and stir. Slowly pour beer over chili and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
Now onto the cornbread! This cornbread is a gift I’m sharing with you. It’s soft and fluffy, delicately sweetened with honey and a bit of brown sugar. This is the cornbread you’ve been missing and didn’t know you needed!
Fluffy Buttermilk Cornbread:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup unbeached, all-purpose flour
¼ cup honey
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly whisked
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish with butter. Place dish into oven to warm up, allowing the butter the dish was greased with to slightly melt.
In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sugar.
Making a well in the center of cornbread mixture, add the honey, buttermilk, and eggs. Mix just until combined. Add melted butter, stirring just to combine.
Using oven mitts, remove warmed baking dish from oven and pour cornbread batter into the baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top of cornbread is lightly browned. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.