Darn Good Chili

Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area we are gearing up for some winter weather over the next few days.  If you’ve lived here very long, you know that this hype and hysteria could all be for nothing, however, one thing the weather people have predicted correctly so far is that it is cold, and getting colder.

On cold, gray days like this I love nothing more than a warm bowl of soup for dinner, and today it’s going to be my version of Damn Good Chili, renamed Darn Good Chili since my family is PG-rated.  I make it fairly often in the winter, and reference it in my weekly menus.  Today I decided I’ll share how I make it, since it’s a bit different than the original recipe.  You can’t go wrong with the original, this just works a bit better for me and my family.

The best part of this recipe is how flexible it is.  Add or subtract types and/or amounts of vegetables.  Use ground venison or bison instead of ground beef.  Follow this perfectly, or change it up however you want.  I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same way twice, and it’s always been good.

Darn Good Chili


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, butter, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced onion
  • 2-3 cups chopped, grated or diced vegetables.  I usually use a combination of carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash and/or zucchini, depending on what I have on-hand.
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef (or bison, turkey, a mixture, whatever you like)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-14oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth (I’ve used water in a pinch….worked out fine)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I forgot this once, and while it was still really good, I prefer the flavor it adds)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I almost never add these, unless I’ve made a special trip to the store to buy them.  If you have them, use them)


  1. Heat fat of choice in large dutch oven over medium heat
  2. Add ground beef and crumble, cooking until meat is cooked through
  3. Add all the vegetables, except the peppers, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes
  4. Add all the seasonings and mix well
  5. Add remaining ingredients (except peppers) and mix well
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partly covered about 45 minutes (longer is always better, but you won’t sacrifice all the flavor if it simmers less than 45 minutes)
  7. Check and stir every so often, adding more water or beef broth if it gets too thick. It’s not meant to be soup-y, however, you don’t want it to completely dry out.
  8. Remove lid, add peppers, and simmer another 15 minutes or so
  9. Serve and enjoy!

I always serve chili with grated cheese and Fritos.  I really like sliced avocado with this recipe, as well as a dollop of sour cream.

My version is pretty mild on the spicy-scale, so add more chili powder or red pepper flakes, or serve with a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce if you prefer more heat.



3 thoughts on “Darn Good Chili”

  • I had all of these ingredients on hand (with the exception of diced tomatoes), so I tried this out for dinner tonight. I subbed Rotel tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes…. it was delicious, but yowza!!, quite warm in the spice department! Next time I will use diced tomatoes, but for those of you that like it spicy, try Rotel tomatoes!

    Thanks for the recipe… it was very good!

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