Our sons lovingly refer to our home as The Ranch.  We don't actually live on a ranch, but we sure could use one.  Our blended family consists of seven boys, many who have moved out and are starting their own families.  Needless to say, gatherings at our house require a lot of food.  When cold weather approaches I look forward to cooking big batches of homemade Chili.  This recipe is easy to adapt to dietary goals or restrictions.  My favorite version is vegetable or ground turkey.  Ground beef, cubed steak or pork also work well.  Prep is a snap if you use canned beans.  Dried beans require a bit more effort but result in the best flavor.  The Chili can be cooked on the stovetop or simmered in a slow cooker for a no-fuss meal at the end of a busy day. 

Here are some of the ingredients you'll need:

Let's get cooking!

If using dried beans you will need to soak them overnight.  Rinse them and cover with water in a large pot or container.  Kidney beans require extra care and must be thoroughly rinsed after soaking.  After rinsing, boil them in fresh water with a healthy pinch of salt for about 45 minutes before adding to the recipe.  A half cup of dried beans will yield about the same as one 15oz can of beans. 

Ranch House Chili


1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion (8 oz), finely chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper or green pasilla pepper
1 Tb minced garlic
1 pound ground meat (turkey, beef or chicken) or diced chicken or steak
1 cup pale beer, or stock/broth
28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce 1.5 cups of prepared black beans or 1 can (15oz)
1.5 cups of prepared kidney beans or 1 can (15oz)
1.5 cups of prepared pinto beans or 1 can (15oz) 1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 to 4 tablespoons chili powder (start with 2, add additional to preferred taste)
1 Tablespoon cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon onion powder
few drops Tabasco hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf


2 cups yellow corn kernels, fresh or frozen
½ oz dark chocolate (2 squares, I recommend 70 or 72% cocoa)
¼ cup strong coffee
1 to 2 Tb brown sugar – (add to taste if chili tastes bitter)
additional tabasco if spicier chili is desired

Over medium heat, add oil to a large pot. Add onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add ground turkey or beef or other meat if using. Cook and stir until meat has browned. Add beer or broth to pan, use spatula to scrape up any browned bits at bottom of pan into mixture. Add tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, oregano, hot sauce, salt, pepper and bay leaf. stir to combine. Drain and rinse beans. Gently stir beans into mixture in pot.

Add optional ingredients (if using). Simmer in pot 30 to 45 minutes or transfer to crock pot and cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or high 2 to 4 hours. If thinner chili is desired add additional stock to desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.