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Chili con Carne with Ground Meat

Beef Chili with Butter Beans
Ingredients for Chili

This recipe is from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook published in 1975. He was a famous food journalist, cookbook author and restaurant critic.

I was just out of college when I visited my cousin Donna and her husband Dekle in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he worked for a pharmaceutical company. She enjoyed cooking and entertaining. This was her favorite cookbook at the time in the late 1970s. They were a successful power couple and they lived a fast, furious and tragic life. Memorable people who loved life, good food, family and friends

I use 2 pounds of ground beef instead of Craig Claiborne’s 3 pounds. I also add 1 of beans.

Sometimes I use beef that has been ground only once. It’s coarser and chewier and often made specifically for chili. I definitely use 90% lean beef

The type and freshness of your seasonings make an ordinary recipe extraordinary! We recently discovered the brand of spices called Morton & Bassett San Francisco. Very flavorful and aromatic! Another good spice company is Penzey’s which is available online and in the Penzey’s brick and mortar shops

If you like your chili especially spicy, add more chili powder!


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, broken in pieces (Cento San Marzano brand is my fav!) it’s deep rich color and flavor make a better sauce!
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can beans, drained (black beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, or northern beans)
  • Pasta, bite size pieces such as rigatoni, farfalle, or elbow, cooked
  • Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add oil
  2. Sauté onion and green pepper until wilted
  3. Add the meat. Cook and break up lumps with large spoon
  4. Add garlic and seasonings. Stir and add the vinegar. Simmer on low a few minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  6. Add beans and simmer 5 minutes
  7. Serve over pasta and top with grated cheddar cheese
  8. Our family has enjoyed this for decades!