Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Beef & Chorizo Chili

An easy recipe for beef & chorizo chili that will have everyone scraping their bowls. This is THE BEST chili I've ever made in my life! It's packed with smoky, tangy & slightly spicy flavors. If you're tired of bland, ho-hum chili that requires tons of toppings to taste good, you have to give this recipe a try! Fix a batch on the stovetop in only 90 minutes with simple ingredients like ground beef, Mexican chorizo, peppers, tomatoes, beans, broth, spices, and chiles en adobo sauce. {gluten-free}

Beef & Chorizo Chili

Because springtime in Texas apparently means 85-degree temps with tornado warnings one day, then 40-degree chill fests the very next day, I think a warm bowl of comfort food is in order. 

I'm sure those of you buried in random April blizzards will appreciate the hot foods. Also, Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching.

(If chili's not your thing, there's always creamy tomato soup, cabbage roll souphamburger vegetable soup, or creamy chicken noodle soup to keep you full & cozy.

Ahem. After several years of experimentation, with many ho-hum attempts in between, let me humbly present my favorite beef chili recipe

Okay, maybe not so humbly. Guys, this chili is really really GOOD.

Honest to goodness. I served this chili to my family with cornbread waffles when we all gathered last month for my grandma's 90th birthday celebration (photographic evidence below). 

Everyone loved it (3 guys and 2 gals) and my grandma said it was the best chili she'd ever eaten (although I sure do create a lot of dishes). I'll take that compliment any day!

I grew up eating Kansas-style chili made with ground beef, onion, garlic, beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and William's chili seasoning, then topped with shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos corn chips.

But, living in North Texas with access to good Mexican food has really spoiled me. Now I want ALL the flavor, spice, and heat. This kinda chili tastes bland to me now. Almost like something's missing.

I tried adding "secret" ingredients like cocoa powder or beer to the base recipe to improve it. (So many folks on the interwebz swear by this.) It didn't make a big difference.

So, I scrapped my childhood recipe and started fresh with some of my favorite Tex-Mex ingredients.

Ingredients That Make This Beef Chili Stand Apart

Here are the three key ingredients that make this chili recipe unique and add the secret sauce flavor. (Hint: I know you might be tempted for convenience, but don't skip them!)

1. Mexican Chorizo 

Yes, I know this is a beef chili recipe but using equal parts beef and pork increases the fat content (fat = flavor) so it's way better tasting, especially if you're like me and use lean 100% grass-fed beef. 

Chorizo is a Mexican pork sausage that is fresh (uncooked), ground, and packed with a ton of spices. Not to be confused with Spanish chorizo, which is dried and cured. Look for Mexican chorizo in the pork section of your meat/butcher's counter. They may sell it as bulk ground meat or in sausage link casings (just cut those off and discard).

If possible, find one that has plenty of seasonings added. Look for a deep red color. My favorite chorizo that I get locally (and used in this recipe) is the Chorizo Huetamo (spicy Michoacan-style chorizo) from Central Market. If you can't find Mexican chorizo nearby, you can make your own homemade chorizo with plain ground pork and spices. 

Beef & Chorizo Chili: An easy recipe for flavorful chili that's smoky and slightly spicy. Perfect for the meat lovers in your life or anyone who wants a warm comforting meal with simple ingredients.

2. Chiles en Adobo Sauce 

This is the main ingredient in the chili that really sets the overall recipe apart (in my opinion). One little humble can of chiles en adobo sauce contains chipotle peppers (dried smoked jalapenos) in an adobo sauce that is tangy and slightly sweet. So many recipes call for a single chipotle from one of these cans. I'm more of a dump it all in kinda gal. This ingredient gives the base of the chili a deep smokiness with a bit of tang. 

A can of this is less than $2 at pretty much any grocery store, so it's very affordable. Look for it in the imported or Mexican foods aisle. If you can't find it locally, you can grab a can online through Amazon. I strongly recommend ordering it online if you can't find it locally instead of omitting it altogether since it's a key ingredient. If you happen to have leftovers after making this chili, save it for another recipe like these pollo asado tacos.  

FYI: To make this recipe paleo/primal or whole30 compliant (you'd need to omit the beans & double check the seasonings on the chorizo, as well) use homemade chipotle in adobo sauce. Why? Every brand I've ever tried or found at the store contains a small amount of some type of vegetable oil (soybean or canola usually). I typically avoid those oils as they're not real food, but my food philosophy is closer to the 80/20 rule and not about perfectionism, so I go ahead and use canned chipotle chiles for convenience. 

3. Good-Quality Chili Powder 

You want something that's fresh and isn't loaded with salt or MSG. I prefer ancho chile powder (dried poblano peppers) or New Mexico chile powder. Most chili powder blends have salt as the main ingredient (first on the ingredients list), which isn't necessary since you can always add your own to taste at the end if you feel it needs more.

When I made this for my family, I also used a bag of cornbread mix in my no-mess waffle maker to make cornbread waffles. I omitted the sweetener (since I wanted savory waffles for chili) and they turned out really yummy! I want to try them again soon with my homemade cornbread muffins recipe as a base. 

Beef & Chorizo Chili

One Important Tip For Making Good Chili

Chili is one of those dishes that tastes better the longer it cooks (or sits in the fridge to let the flavors develop). That secret ingredient no one tells you? Time.

So, this is NOT a 30-minutes from start-to-finish kind of recipe for times when you're rushed and need a quick dinner. Could you make it that way? Sure, but it won't taste anywhere as good.

It's best to make it the day before (or earlier in the week) for easy meal planning OR start it on a day when you have a few hours to spare. I like to let mine simmer for at least an hour, which isn't a huge time commitment, but long enough to bring out the flavors.

More Tex-Mex Recipes

Looking for more yummy Tex-Mex recipes to try? Check out more of my favorites:

minced, best, ground, beans, con
main course
Yield: 6 servings

Easy Beef & Chorizo Chili Recipe

Beef & Chorizo Chili

prep time: 10 Mcook time: 1 H & 20 Mtotal time: 1 H & 30 M
An easy recipe for beef & chorizo chili that will have everyone scraping their bowls. It's packed with smoky, tangy & slightly spicy flavors. If you're tired of bland, ho-hum chili that requires tons of toppings to taste good, you have to give this recipe a try! Fix a batch on the stovetop in 90 minutes with simple ingredients. {gluten-free}


  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (like avocado oil, ghee, olive oil, or bacon grease)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb. of ground Mexican pork chorizo (fresh, not cured)
  • 1 lb. of ground beef (I use 100% grass-fed)
  • 3 tablespoons of salt-free chili powder seasoning (I like ancho chile powder or New Mexico chile powder)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt (adjust up or down based on the saltiness of your ingredients)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 4 big cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (7 oz) can of chiles en adobo sauce (or homemade chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), diced & not drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 oz) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of beef broth or chicken bone broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans, drained
Toppings for serving (optional - added to each bowl):


How to cook Beef & Chorizo Chili

  1. Set a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the cooking oil, let it warm a minute, then add the ground beef, ground chorizo, chili powder seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper.
  2. Cook the meat, stirring & breaking it into chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula until the meat is cooked through and the spices are evenly distributed (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add the onion, sweet bell pepper, and poblano peppers. Cook another 10 minutes to let the veggies start to soften, then add the garlic, chiles en adobo sauce, tomato sauce, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and pinto beans.
  4. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients, bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low or low. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes to let some of the liquid evaporate (optional - you can leave the lid on the whole time if you like it soupier).
  5. Ladle into bowls, garnish with your favorite toppings and serve immediately while hot. Leftovers freeze and reheat well (if there are any).


PREP WORK: I always do the prep work of chopping veggies in between cooking the meats, so I don't 100% walk away from the kitchen until about 30 minutes into this recipe (you might be faster than me); however, if you prefer, you can do all the prep work at the beginning, set a timer while the meat cooks and come back to stir the mixture a few times. FREEZER MEAL OPTION: Follow steps 1-4 then let the chili cool completely. Portion into large zipper-top freezer bags and spread the chili out so it lays flat in the bags, pressing out any excess air (this help it thaw faster & take up less space in the freezer). To reheat, take out the desired number of bags from the freezer, cut open with scissors, and place the frozen chili in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cover with a lid, place on medium heat and reheat, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large chunks, until the chili is hot & bubbly again. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with your favorite toppings. SLOW COOKER OPTION: If you want to use a slow cooker or crock-pot for this chili recipe, follow steps #1-3 on the stovetop, then transfer the mixture to your slow cooker to finish. I haven't recipe tested it this way yet, so I can't give you an exact cook time for a low or high setting. To be safe, give yourself at least 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 on high, or until the veggies are super tender & the meat is cooked through. You may need to let it simmer a bit with the lid off (at the end) if you prefer a thicker chili.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Did You Make This Recipe?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it went! Please leave a comment here on the blog, on Pinterest via the "tried it" feature, or use the hashtag #therisingspoon & tag @therisingspoon when you share pics to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. It helps me to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)

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Craving homemade chili but looking for something different? Try this easy one-pot recipe with ground beef, Mexican pork chorizo, veggies, broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, chiles en adobo sauce, simple spices, and pinto beans (omit for a low-carb, paleo or Texas version). This stovetop chili is SO good you won't even need extra toppings, although I still always add shredded cheese & sour cream because I love it that way. (gluten-free) #chili #chorizo #onepot

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