Who doesn’t love chili on a cold fall or winter evening? I mean, that’s why it’s called “C-H-I-L-L-Y”, right? If you like Wendy’s chili, try this thick and healthy version that will wow you with flavor. Unlike some chilis, my Georgia Chili has meat AND beans and is a cinch to make!
Apparently, there is much discussion among chili lovers when it comes to the proper way to make it. I believe the controversy of whether or not “authentic” chili contains beans is a silly one, but nevertheless, it pushes the gastric buttons of some people much like the debate over Die Hard being a true Christmas movie puts movie-lovers on edge.
It’s not, by the way.
At our house, we LOVE chili, but not all of us love beans. From a nutrition standpoint, beans provide the necessary complex carbohydrates our bodies need. They are an excellent source of fiber, which can protect our hearts from heart disease, help us feel fuller longer, and keep our digestive system regular. Most Americans don’t eat their recommended daily amount of fiber each day, which leads me to this:
“Beans, beans, good for the heart; the more you eat the more you . . . . ”
Well . . . you know the rest. Here’s my take on chili and beans. Use any beans your family will eat. If that’s black beans, use ’em. Garbanzos? Perfect. And if you like those nasty, colossal lima beans, go for it! Or, don’t use beans at all. It’s really up to you, and this recipe can accommodate any finicky legume requirements.
You’ll notice, I list ground chicken as the source of meat in this chili to cut calories, fat, and eliminate the need to drain any fat from the pot. You can substitute with ground beef or ground turkey. If you’re using beef just be sure to drain it once it’s finished browning.
See my notes at the end on the different beans I’ve used in this recipe and additional tips.
- Cooking spray
- 2 lb. ground chicken or ground chicken breast
- 29 oz. tomato sauce
- 29 oz. canned kidney beans, not drained*
- 29 oz. canned pinto beans, not drained*
- 29 oz. canned petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth, unsalted
- 1 yellow or sweet onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Penzeys Chili 9000 spice blend*
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
What you’ll need
- Dutch oven or large soup pot
- Cutting board and knife
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Ladle for serving
– Spray your Dutch oven or large pot with cooking spray. Cook the ground chicken on medium high until no longer pink and water has evaporated from the pot.
– Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours on medium low to reduce the liquid in the chili and enhance the flavor.
– Optional: Serve with corn chips, cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped green onions, and Mama’s Moist Cornbread.
As is, this recipe serves 12 easily, or you can halve the recipe for a family dinner with little or no leftovers.
Beans: They do make a difference. Pinto, kidney, and black beans are the usual suspects for chili. Pinto beans are higher in fiber and lower in calories than kidney beans, as are black beans, so if that’s important to you, you may choose to use all pintos or sub out the kidney beans for black beans. The beans I’ve included here are perfect for this chili, but use whatever beans you prefer. I use garbanzos and black beans in my chili because that’s all my husband will eat, but it does affect the flavor of the chili.
Sides: We like cornbread with our chili, but oyster crackers, saltines, and buttery crackers are all terrific choices. Click here for my easy and moist buttermilk cornbread recipe.
Spices: Penzeys is a spice company, and Penzeys Chili 9000 is a wonderful blend of over 20 spices that work magically together. If you don’t have it, you can use this substitution: 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder and cayenne.
Time: The longer your chili simmers the thicker it will be. Not only will it be nice and thick, but the flavors will become concentrated and irresistible, just like all the best chilis. 😋
Love soups? I have more! Check out these healthy and filling soups: