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Chili with Ground Beef

Chili Served Over Pasta & Topped with Cheese

Craig Claiborne wrote The New York Times Cookbook in 1975. It is a collection of the best recipes from The New York Times food pages from the previous decade. This recipe comes from that book. He called it Chili con Carne with Ground Meat.

My cousin Donna Rountree introduced me to this book in 1978 when I visited she and her family at their apartment in San Juan Puerto Rico where she lived with her husband Dekle and daughter Jodie. Donna did a lot of entertaining and she loved this cookbook!

I substitute olive or vegetable oil for the bacon fat and use 2-28 ounce cans tomatoes instead of 1 can with water. I find the best results with a very lean ground beef that’s at least 90% lean such as Laura’s brand. I also serve it over pasta and top with grated cheese. I’m also flexible with quantities of onion, green pepper, garlic and seasonings. Use your own judgement

Let me know what you think. It’s a very meaty chili and has no beans!! Be careful with the heat of the chili powder you choose. Some are extremely hot. I use a mild heat chili powder. Everyone can add more heat to their own bowls!

When you serve each bowl of chili over pasta, everyone can each add their own chopped raw tomato, chopped lettuce, avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro and/or hot pepper flakes.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green pepper
  • 3 pounds 90-93% lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic, optional
  • Serve with chopped raw tomatoes, chopped lettuce, sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, hot pepper flakes, avocado if desired
  • Serve over small pieces cooked pasta


  1. Pour oil into a hot large deep cooking pot. Add onion and green pepper and cook over medium to low heat until onion is wilted
  2. Add meat. Using a heavy metal spoon cook and chop up beef to break up lumps
  3. Add garlic and black pepper and stir to blend
  4. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin and celery salt. Stir and add vinegar
  5. Add tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add chili paste if desired. I usually don’t
  6. Heat to a boil while stirring. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Voila! Serve over pasta. Add some fresh toppings too!

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