October 17, 2008: It's Chilly Enough for Chili

The evenings are cool now, perfect for a dinner of soup, stew or chili. I have used the same chili recipe for years, and everyone I've served it to has raved about it. Except my friend, Bigfoot, and my youngest son.

Bigfoot, who is also known as Jim, had "appointed" me as the bean lady for our numerous cookouts. Through the winter, while we are living in Arizona, we frequently get a group together for a trip into the desert where we build a big fire, cover it with huge grills and cook our dinner over the open fire. I usually bring my big old cast iron Dutch oven, filled with precooked pinto beans with ham, and keep it simmering on the grill. One such trip, I decided to bring a pot of my home made chili instead. It went over well with everyone except Bigfoot, who told me it was the worst chili he had ever eaten. I have never taken, nor will I ever take, another pot of beans to the cookouts! Yes, I hold a grudge.

Yesterday my son was visiting, and asked what I was cooking. I told him I was making chili and invited him to come eat with us. He said something to the effect of "Mom, you make terrible chili". Yes, I will invite him for dinner. Some day. Maybe. But I'll sit and glare at him all the time he's eating.

I *heart* my chili! Try it, if you dare, and let me know...is it the worst chili you ever ate?

Crockpot Chili

2 cups dry pinto beans

Wash and sort beans. Place in a large kettle or Dutch oven, cover with water and bring to a boil; boil for ten minutes (add more water if necessary). Remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Return to heat and bring to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary, to keep beans covered in liquid. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about one hour. Drain, reserving 2 cups liquid.

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, diced
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
3 beef bouillon cubes
cooked pinto beans
reserved bean liquid plus water, if needed, to equal 2 cups liquid

In a large, non-stick frying pan, brown the ground beef with the diced onions until the meat is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, brown sugar and bouillon cubes. Pour mixture into a crockpot. Stir in the drained, cooked pinto beans, Add reserved bean liquid to cover, and set the temperature to high. Cook, covered, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I usually cook for 2 hours on high, then turn to low and cook an additional 2 or three hours.

Building the bonfire.

Cooking over the coals. That's my good old Dutch oven behind the grill.

Food, fun and "Margaritaville" in the desert. Ahhh...that's the life I love!

Sorry about the abrupt ending. My camera batteries died!


  1. Granny - I'm a chiliholic! I love all chili recipes. Of course, i've never tried any with cocoa powder in it.....Hmmm, that's kinda messed up. I'd still like to try it, though! I'll have to watch that video later....but for now, want to know where the beer is at?

    BTW, I can fix your freaky email address everytime you comment on my blog, but it just does it again when you send me another one. I guess you'll have to try and fix it on your end. Besides....it's not my fault that you keep typing it wrong. Hee Hee


  2. EG, the cocoa powder makes that chili! Think of a Mexican mole' sauce, they always have chocolate in them. This is a mild recipe, you might want to add more chili powder. The day those photos were taken it was too cold for beer! It's not always warm and sunny in Arizona :-)

    The video is short, only half a song.

    I try to fix my address on your blog every time I comment, but it doesn't stick. I NEVER typed that thing it shows as an address, the program must have burped!

  3. Granny, I realize that coming from the desert southwest, gives your chili recipe some credence but I don’t know about the chocolate either. The one thing I do know is that this post is a prizewinner. Good job Granny.


  4. LOL, John...Actually, I just now Googled "chili recipe with chocolate" and I was surprised at just how many recipes showed up. It really isn't that unusual.

  5. it really isn't that unusual

    Yeah.....if you're weird.

  6. What fun....and I can't imagine you cooking anything bad! It sounds like alot of love goes into that chili - dried pinto beans - mmmmm. We cheat and use canned beans here!

  7. bettyinga, sometimes I cheat with this recipe when I'm in a hurry, and instead of the cooked pinto beans I add 3-4 cans of pinto, red or kidney beans.

  8. Give Granny a break. Chocolate in chile isn't unusual. Chicken Mole is fabulous! Why not in chile!

  9. Oh, and great work on the Jimmy impersonation! I need to practice my guitar. /sigh

  10. Thank you, sinfonian! We know good cooking, don't we? All those little whippersnappers up there don't know what they are missing when they leave the chocolate out of the chili ;-)