Not Texas Chili

Well, it’s Spring in the South, y’all. 82 degrees Saturday afternoon. 40 this morning. Yep, it’s March when it’s summer in the sunshine and winter in the shade. We don’t know whether to light the grill or start a fire in the fireplace. We’re running the heat in the morning and air conditioning in the afternoon. Then back to heat at night. It’s enough to make you dizzy. And on top of all that, things are starting to bloom and you know what that means – allergies! Yikes.

I shouldn’t complain about the weather, though. I saw one of my blogging friends, Amanda from Amanda’s Cookin’, on Facebook this morning talking about it being below 20 degrees with blowing snow and icy roads where she lives. So for Amanda and all of y’all who are still dealing with winter, I’m posting this recipe today. And I won’t even mention how well my lettuces are growing or that I saw the first Iris blooming in the front yard this morning :-)

Now, before somebody starts in about how this is not “real” chili, I just want to go ahead and say that I know that. I understand that “real” chili does not contain any beans or tomatoes. However, there’s a whole big world of cooks out here and we all have different ideas about recipes. That why I’ve called this recipe Not Texas Chili. Just so we’re clear. This is my own version of chili and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to chili cooked by authentic cowboys, trail bosses, or others associated in any way with Texas. Whew!

Browning beef for Not Texas Chili

Okay, if you’re ready to try my family’s favorite chili recipe, inauthentic though it may be, let’s get started. You’ll need a large deep pot like a Dutch oven for making the chili. Start by browning the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.

Cooking peppers, onions, and garlic for Not Texas Chili

In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender. Return the drained beef to the pan.

Add tomatoes, beans, water to Not Texas Chili

Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.

Spices for Not Texas Chili

Add the seasonings. Stir well.

Simmering Not Texas Chili

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.

Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco.


Not Texas Chili
Prep time
Total time
My favorite chili recipe. Although it's not "authentic" it's the one our family enjoys best!
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tblsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tblsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Tabasco
  1. In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.
  2. In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender.
  3. Return the drained beef to the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  5. Add the seasonings. Stir well.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.
  7. Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco
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  1. Mike says

    I’m from Texas and you can call it chili if you like, I gotcher back. I never thought I’d live to see the day where *some* of my fellow Texans got to be so snobbish and uptight that they raked someone over the coals because they defined a simple dish differently than how they think it should be. It’s a matter of taste, that’s all…and speaking of such, I prefer KC BBQ to Texas style. N. Carolina style is good for a change-of-pace. A lot of things ARE bigger in Texas, but sometimes I think the egos are TOO big.

    Me? I don’t put beans in MY chili but I like to put chili in my beans, go figger.

    • says

      So glad to know I’ve got a real Texan watching my back! I guess we should think of something else to call this type of stew with beans and chili and then everybody would be happy :-)

  2. Miss P says

    Ok, just so that everyone will know, this is about the same as the chili on which we were raised. We did not sprout horns in the middle of our foreheads, nor suffer any other horrible curse. We ate it, we loved it, we still do. And, if there is cornbread in the near vicinity, the circle of love is complete. Ahhhhhh.

    Miss P

    • says

      Thanks Brenda! All our trees and some flowers are in bloom and then this morning…again…it’s freezing!! I’m so ready to see the backside of winter.

  3. says

    Looks like real chili to me! And I would love to have some to warm me up in this freezing Boston weather right now… Happy spring! :)

  4. says

    A woman after my own heart :) I love my chili with kidney beans, though my husband’s digestive tract can’t handle the green pepper :-( This looks delicious!

    • says

      Amanda – I find that the red, yellow, and orange peppers are just as good and seem to be easier to handle for folks with sensitive digestion. Just an idea.

  5. says

    I love chili in ALL its forms – Texas style, with beans, cincinnati style – you name it! My fave has a little unsweetened cocoa powder and black beans in it – definitely NOT “traditional” but definitely good!

    • says

      I love chili, too, Nancy. Even though it’s not authentic, it’s one of the most soul-warming things you can make on a cold day.

  6. says

    This is too real chili! There are as many chili recipes and types as there are pasta recipes. I think of it like bbq. Tennessee bbq, Texas bbq, and Memphis bbq are all different, but just as equally deserving of the title bbq (unlike the New England version of bbq which is nothing but hamburgers and hotdogs). Chili with beans and tomatoes may not be Texas Chili, but just as deserving of the title Chili. AND, all of this from someone that just did a post on Texas chili without beans!

    • says

      Now, barbecue is a touchy subject among Southerners for sure. Everyone has his or her own way of doing it and there are as many recipes for the sauce as there are cooks making it. Real or not…this is just our favorite bowl of chili. I do still want to try my hand at making a “Bowl of Red” one day!

      • says

        You’re telling me! With a mom from southern Georgia, a dad from northern Alabama and with us living in Texas for the better part of two decades, barbecue can bring on a full-fledged Hatfield v. McCoy hissy fit in my family. In the end, I’ll eat any of it as long as it tastes good. Same with chili. I love really good chili without tomatoes and beans; my years in Texas make it my preference. But, as others have mentioned, even in Texas you get chili with beans and tomatoes (we just don’t like to talk about it!) Your chili looks just about as good as any other, Texas or not.

    • says

      I usually add between 1 and 1 1/2 cups. It depends on how thin or thick you like your chili. It’s one of those things that you can’t really give a definite measurement for.

  7. says

    This is precisely the chili I grew up eating, with the only missing ingredient being the elbow noodles. I’ve spent most of my life in Texas and I can honestly say that to me ‘real chili’ has beans and tomatoes.

  8. pansy spoulos says

    the instructions call for adding water with the tomatoes, beans etc; but the recipe does not tell you how much water

    • says

      It’s not a set amount. You should add enough water to make the chili the thickness that you like. I usually start with about 1/2 cup and may add more as it cooks down and the water evaporates.

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