Idaho Chili is not complicated, it's just hearty, thick and meaty. Make this your go-to, scratch-made family chili recipe! I think it's the perfect combination of meat, beans and a sauce that's seasoned with just the right amount of spice. I make this at least two or three times a month and serve it with either tortillas or cornbread.
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Ingredients to have on hand
- ground beef
- canned diced tomatoes
- tomato paste
- canned Rotel diced tomatoes, with green chilies
- four varieties of canned beans (use your favorites!)
Absolutely! Whole, canned tomatoes work just fine. You'll need to break them apart in the pot to create that sauce though. That's why I like to use diced tomatoes, they break down quickly and pretty much every chunk of tomato is the same size. You can also use fresh tomatoes but I recommend using at least half the amount of canned tomatoes called in this recipe, again to help create that familiar chili sauciness. Honestly though, there's really no way to mess up chili when it comes to the style of tomatoes you choose. So feel free to be adventurous!
Use a Variety of Beans
One of my favorite things about chili is you can use whatever combination of canned beans you have in the pantry. Beans are so versatile. According to the Idaho Bean Commission, you can substitute one type of bean for most other beans in any recipe. The only exception is a variety like black beans which may add a slightly different taste and color. I've used many varieties of beans when I make my chili, but I think kidney beans, chili beans, great northern and pinto beans create the best balance of flavor.
I am a big fan of always serving chili in big bowls. Presentation does matter, even with something as simple as chili. A big bowl allows for plenty of space for a generous helping, plus lots of room for toppings. I've looked and looked but can't find the exact chili bowls that I use, probably since I've had them for so many years. But I found these online and they are very similar to mine. The bowls come in handy for lots of things besides chili. I use them for soup, stew, or any one-dish dinner entree.
What are good chili toppings?
There are so many choices! Here are toppings popular in my family:
- shredded cheese
- diced onion
- saltine crackers
- diced jalapeno peppers
- fresh salsa
- diced fresh tomato
- sour cream
- non-fat greek yogurt
Hearty Meal Ideas
Idaho Chili a hearty recipe and making it might get you in the mood for other main meals that have a way of inspiring a cozy feeling at dinner time.
I just love Baked Beef Burritos and like chili, there are always plenty of leftovers.
My kids and husband often request Quick Cheeseburger Pie. It has a pat-in-the-pan crust that is fun to make and the pie really does taste like a cheeseburger.
If you are in the mood for pasta, my Tomato-Cream Sauce is the perfect topping. It's a made from scratch red sauce that's easy enough to make even on a work night.