Beef Chili with Kidney Beans


Amazing chili that can be made in the crock pot. Cooks Illustrated suggests making the chili at least a day in advance, up to five days, as the flavor gets better with time. We made some adjustments as we don’t like a very meaty chili and I grew up eating chili with potatoes, so we added them.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, makes it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, makes it spicy)
  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 30 ounces of canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounces of canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 28 ounces of canned tomato puree
  • Table salt
  • Red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 8 small)
  1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and ½ teaspoon salt; bring to boil.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.
  5. After 2 hours, add the diced potatoes, covering with sauce.
  6. Serve hot, though the flavor is best if left overnight.

Optional items for garnish: fresh lime wedges, sour cream, green onions.