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11/4 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onion
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (141/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes (with juice)
21/2 tablespoons chili powder
21/2 teaspoons cumin
11/2 teaspoons salt
11/4 cups water or beef stock
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder, or 
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
11/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese 
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
6 tablespoons sour cream

To prepare the chili:   Sauté the meat and the onions over medium heat until the meat loses its pink color.  Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the beans and toppings.  Simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.  Add the beans, and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes longer.  (The chili will hold, refrigerated, for 4 days at this point; the flavors will mellow and improve with time.)

For service:  Heat the chili slowly to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.  Serve the chili in heated crocks or bowls.  Top each serving with grated Cheddar cheese, chopped onion, and sour cream.  Serves 6.
The Great Chefs of Virginia Cookbook

This and other Best of the Best Virginia recipes can be found in: