Middle of the Road Chile Con Carne 7 Comments

Jan 28, 2009

I was at a dinner six months ago, when I met Tony. Tony is a very tall man from Texas, loves everything Texan, and told me he makes the best chile con carne recipe and that he was willing to share it with me (and all of us). When he sent me the recipe he had this to add:

Disclaimer: The “heat” from spice in this recipe is considered “average” in Texas, and may be considered “hot” or “mild” in other areas. Also, note that this recipe does not include beans. Cooked pinto beans may be served as side dishes for diners who don’t know any better and insist on eating “chili con carne con frijoles”.

When I first moved here about four years ago, Chile Con Carne was one of the first meals I wanted to try, as it was “so American” to us Sydney folks. It’s perfect for the superbowl this weekend.

Middle of the Road Chile Con Carne (Image 2)


2 large “softball sized” “1015” or “Vidalia” variety onions, chopped
lbs of coarsely ground lean ground beef (if desired, up to ⅔ of the ground beef may be replaced by ground turkey)
5 Tablespoons of dark chili powder (the darkness implies the peppers have been roasted, which enhances the flavor)
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste (depends on the saltiness of the meat)
6 drops of Tabasco sauce
6 drops of Hickory flavored “Liquid Smoke”
1 Tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of pure cocoa powder or a small square of 85% cocoa chocolate
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
1 can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chillies (“Original”)
1 small can tomato sauce
4 cups of water (beer may be substituted for up to 2 cups of the water)
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil



Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

3 hours


In a 5 quart pot or a dutch oven, place meat in the dutch oven and season with salt and ground black pepper (a bit of a guess because you don’t want to taste raw beef to find out how salty it is). Begin by browning course grind beef (or beef/turkey mixture) just until the redness is gone. Drain fat, remove meat and set aside.

Place extra virgin olive oil in the dutch oven and slowly cook chopped onions, season with salt and pepper, constantly stirring for 20 to 30 minutes over low-medium heat until the onions begin to brown like the onions in French Onion soup. This brings out more of the sweetness from the onions.

Return the meat to the dutch oven with the onions, put all of the remaining ingredients into the dutch oven, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a low boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and then cook 90 minutes or so until meat is very tender.

Let the mixture cool, refrigerate, and serve Chili con Carne one or two days later with garnishes of avocado and shredded sharp cheddar and fritos chips.

Filed Under

Main Course, Beef and Side Dish

Spices Used

Cumin, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper

Other Ingredients Used

Ground Beef


this is really nice recipe and quick to make too! i've made chilli dozens of times over the years, but i like different flavors in here - chocolate in chilli, who knew?!

—philip , over 5 years ago

Great comfort food idea!

Lucia, over 5 years ago

This does look like a very Texan recipe, and yours looks great! I've lived in Texas for 16 years now, but unfortunately, I'm not a big meat eater. I do love chile con frijoles though!

lisaiscooking, over 5 years ago

This recipe sounds and looks amazing. :)

Dragon, over 5 years ago

I made this a couple of weekends ago and of course made a few substitutions and I think it still turned out great. I couldn't find sweet Vidalia onions and the other sweet yellow onions at my disposal were too expensive--I figured with all the other flavors, the difference between expensive yellow onions and 99c a pound onions would be negligible--sorry! I also opted for a generic tomatoes with green chiles over the Rotels--things are tight!! To further get away from the recipe, I bought 2 beautifully marbled chuck roasts and cut them into 1" chunks and put them in the Cuisinart 7C and gently pulsed a few times. I've bought the "chili grind" beef at Corti's in Sacramento--the gold standard of ground beef for chili--and found that when it cooked down, it turned to regular ground beef, so the "processed" chuck was perfect! I also used a combination of Chimayo chile powder from a trip to Santa Fe, Ground pasilla powder from Dean and Deluca (from the dot-com boom days!) and some smoked chile powder a friend "Chili Head Ed" made--all from my chile pantry. Last but not least, some Oaxaca chocolate for the bakers chocolate--I'd love to get my hands on some more of this without spending $800 for a round trip ticket to Oaxaca--I'd go, but Mexico is kind of dangerous these days....

Substitutions aside, this turned out to be one of the best pots of chili I've ever had. The key to my trying the recipe were the instructions to put in the refigerator for 2 days before serving--this one directive told me that Tony knew his chili. Tony, my man, I'm sorry for all the substitutions, but I had all the other stuff already on hand--you are definitely not middle of the road, dude! This recipe is great--Jane and Michael Stern eat your heart out!!

Dane Henas, over 5 years ago

This is so awesome! Next time I plan a party I’m going to use your recipes!

organic spices, over 4 years ago

Hey I wanted to make this and follow the recipe to a tee but I didn't have some of the ingredients so I did a little tweaking of my own and it turned out great. I will make this again some time but will be using the ingredients originally called for in the recipe.

Kathy - My Online Meals, over 4 years ago

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