Mr. Guch’s Chili Recipe

On the old Cavalcade site, I used to keep my chili recipe tucked away on a seldom-seen page.  At least, I thought it was seldom-seen.

However, two days after making the switch, I got a comment inquiring about what happened to the recipe.  As a result, I am reposting my famous and amazing chili recipe for your culinary amusement:

The ingredients:

  • 1 pound of browned hamburger.  If you’re planning on cooking the chili for hours and hours, though, you can just go ahead and throw the raw meat in there, because it will cook OK on its own.  If you don’t eat beef, you can use turkey instead.  If you don’t eat meat at all, add more beans and each of the vegetables below.
  • 16 oz can tomato sauce.  Use the generic.
  • 2-16 oz. cans red kidney beans.  Use the generic of these, too.  If you prefer some other type of beans, you can use those instead.  However, I wouldn’t recommend using only black beans, because they can’t hold the chili together on their own.
  • 1 lb chopped onion.  Don’t worry about chopping it too fine.
  • 3 chopped green peppers.  If you want to get crazy you can use red and yellow bell peppers, too, but that’s only to make it more colorful.  It’ll taste the same.
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic.  Buy your garlic new, though, because it isn’t the same if it’s been rotting away in the cupboard.
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (add more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (you don’t need to be too picky about the grade, though).

Cooking instructions:

The actual cooking is simple:  Just throw all that stuff into a slow cooker or a huge pot on low heat for 12 or so hours.  When you’re hungry, it’s dinnertime!

If you want to cook it for a shorter period of time, you’ll need to precook the hamburger so you don’t end up eating raw meat.  I strongly recommend you don’t cook it for less than four hours, as the ingredients will only be partly-cooked.

Longer cooking times are usually recommended.  I typically cook mine for 24 hours in a slow cooker at low setting.

Serving instructions:

When you’re done, you’ll have a staggering quantity of chili sitting on your stove.  Serve to your family and friends with the usual gear, including grated cheese, sour cream, chives, crackers, and whatever else you usually throw onto chili.  The best beverages to have with chili are iced tea (sweet or unsweet) or lemonade.  In my experience, other beverages will result in the following:

  • Soda:  The sugar in soda and the flavor of chili don’t go well together.
  • Water:  What are you, a fish?
  • Milk:  White milk is surprisingly OK, though a bit heavy.  Chocolate milk is unacceptable under all circumstances while eating chili.
  • Cold beer:  Chili + beer = obnoxious party.  Don’t go there.  You’ll be happier if you enjoy the iced tea like I said.
  • Wine:  If you come to my house with a bottle of wine, I will mock you until you cry.
  • Coffee:  Now you’re just screwing with me.



Once you’re a chili pro, you might want to try some of the following:

  • Put some vegetable broth in the mix to get a somewhat richer flavor.
  • Try other vegetables, particularly mushrooms, tomatoes, and green onions.  Don’t use carrots or celery.
  • Try other meat.  Finely diced chicken has been tried by others with supposedly good effect, and small bits of steak are also good.  Stay away from pork, and if anybody tells you to put fish into it, beat them with your pot.
  • Add some cumin.  It really punches things up without being hot.

Bon appetit!

Ian Guch

November 2, 2014

This webpage is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0).  For more information about this license and how it affects how you can use the contents of this site, click here.

Model image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.  For the record, I have no idea if they’ve actually tried my chili.

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