My wife and I have been looking for the perfect chili recipe. I have tried and liked the Carroll Shelby 2 Alarm and Wick Fowler Chili packets, but I really don't want to buy pre-measured packets of spices.

My wife found a recipe from Ree Drummond from her Pioneer Woman TV show on the Food Network and made it. We really liked it, and it has become the basis for our modifications.

The masa harina is a traditional mexican corn flour that is used to make tortillas and tamales. If you like that corn / lime taste it is a good addition and also serves to thicken the chili.



  • 2 lbs Ground beef


  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Onion - chopped
  • 2 15-ounce can pinto beans
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes


  • 2 tsp Oregano, ground
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 4 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 1/4 cup Masa harina (optional)

Serve with

  • 1 Tortilla chips or corn chips
  • 1 Cheddar
  • Chopped Onion


Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic and Onion. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips.


My Texas friends may claim that this is not really chili because it contains beans. I like this article about the history of chili. This article from the National Chili Day captures the feeling of that opinion. Search the web for chili recipes and you will find every conceivable variation.

To quote Wikipedia, "chili", is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans.

I am thinking language has evolved and "Chili" can mean a lot of things to different people. The main thing is to find a recipe you love and make it often. So, with peace and harmony in mind, here is my Chili Glossary.

My Chili Glossary

  • Chili: A spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans.
  • Texas Red: Texas style chili without beans.
  • Chili con carne: Chili with meat
  • Chili sin carne / Vegetarian chili: Chili with no meat.
  • White chili: Non-tomato based Chili made with white meat such as turkey or chicken.