Ok. Big confession here. This was a big Oops. But sometimes an Oops is fortuitous — just like in this recipe for the BEST CHILI I ever made. In fact, this may be the best chili I’ve ever eaten.
And I confess, it was a total Oops.
Now for the second confession. Yes, there are two confessions.
The recipe I’m posting here has after-the fact approximated measurements. That’s because this recipe was born (as all true creative recipes are) by sprinkling-then-tasting and then sprinkling-then-tasting some more. There were about twenty or thirty times of repeated sprinkling-then-tasting, small incremental bits at a time.
But I’m getting head of myself with these confessions. Here’s how this Oops-turned-Oh-La-La recipe for Crack Chili happened and how it evolved.
A few morning ago the temperature had dropped a bit more than 30 degrees overnight. (I’m in Texas right now, what can I say.) It was clearly our first morning of really winter weather for the year.
So as I gently peeled back my comforter and felt the chill of the morning, my first thought was that it was a day to make Chili.
Still in pajamas, while the coffee was brewing I rummaged through the freezer to find a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground pork. And out they went on the counter to defrost for a good pot of Chili.
So a couple of hours later with the meat at least partially defrosted, I decided to put on the pot and brown the meat for a long, slow simmer. I popped the meat in my trusty Staub cocotte and began browning. Then when I was almost satisfied on the browning, that’s when I discovered I had no tomatoes. I mean NO TOMATOES. No fresh tomatoes, no canned tomatoes, no tomato sauce, no tomato paste.
All I could find in my kitchen that was remotely tomato-ey was a half-used bottle of Ketchup and one 32-ounce jar of Di Napoli Classico Pasta Sauce with Garlic & Basil.
I was NOT going to use Ketchup in my chili. But neither was I going to let that meat go to waste.
So that left the Pasta Sauce.
I mean Pasta Sauce is mostly tomatoes, right? But how was I going to make my Chili taste like Chili and not Italian meat sauce?
So I pulled out every jar on my spice shelf that seemed like it could tame that signature Italian taste and began sprinkling-then-tasting.
And the sprinkling-then-tasting continued for a quite a while.
When it finally got to a point I liked the taste, I set the pot on simmer and plopped down to watch a movie. But the aromas wafted and enticed and they were just too much for me. I broke down and had to have a taste far earlier than my original low-and-slow-simmer plan. Just a little tiny bowl of it, you know. A few spoonfuls. Just to taste it. And then I needed a tiny re-fill. And just one more … I mean it was only a tiny sauce bowl …
Before the movie was over I had eaten almost a pound of Chili. It was like Crack. I could not stop.
I have to be nakedly honest here.
This weird and impromptu recipe created the best Chili I have ever made.
Maybe the best Chili I have ever eaten.
After recounting my Oops cooking ordeal to a friend last night, she encouraged me to write the recipe down before I forgot it. So I did. And I’m sharing it here with you.
No, this is not a French recipe. It’s not French and it’s certainly not vegetarian. This dish is about as Texas as a dish can get. It is an all-meat Chile in the true old Texas rancher style. But it is definitely Keto because it has no beans.
And one little by-product is that I turned down the thermostat in my home after I began eating this Crack Chili. And I was snuggly warm all the rest of the day.
So here’s my Opps-Turned-Oh-La-La Crack Chili recipe. I am posting it for two reasons. One, it’s too great not to share. And two, it illustrates a great cooking lesson:
Experiment. TASTE as you cook.
Be adventurous. Have fun. And be fearless.
The taste-as-you-go method is the basis of all good food everywhere. Stick to cooking principles but always trust your own tongue and your own nose. And just GO FOR IT. Because sometimes, you end up with something you never thought possible.
So here is my recipe.
- 5.5 quart enamled cocotee or cast iron pot
- 1 pound ground beef browned
- 1 pound ground pork (ground pork sausage is fine) browned
- 1 32 oz jar Pasta Sauce I used Di Napoli Classico
- 2-3 Tablespoons Chili Powder ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Ancho Chile Pepper ground
- 1-2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
- several liberal grinds Tri-Color peppercorns freshly ground (amount to taste)
- salt to taste
- 1/3 cup Beer either fresh or stale, any brand you have
- Brown the beef and pork in your cast iron cocotte or pot on medium high heat, sprinkling it with some of the chili powder and pepper as you brown it.
- When meat is browned, pour in the jar of Pasta Sauce. Stir well.
- Add all of the rest of ingredients and stir well. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low.
- To adjust to your own taste, spinkle ingredients into the pot slowly and taste as you go. Understand the tastes will get a bit stronger after simmering. Use your own taste to adjust the amounts of spices.
- Simmer on medium law, stirring occaisionally, for anywhere from one to two hours.
- You can serve with a sprinkle of cheese if you wish, along with crackers or bread - or all alone.
- Keeps well in fridge. And freezes well...if you have leftovers.
By the way, here are links to my favorite ingredients for this recipe. So Frenchly is an Amazon affiliate and we may make a (very) small commission if you make a purchase branching from to a product from our website. But it costs you nothing, it helps us keep bringing you articles and recipes, and we NEVER link to something we have not researched, tried, or routinely use in our own kitchen.
We are all about the best quality ingredients for the best price. And that’s what we share with you.
Please note some of these are sold in bulk amounts that are larger than you may typically purchase. But unlike herbs, most spices in powder form are shelf stable for three to five years. And also, you may note all of these are certified organic unless there is not an equivalent quality product manufactured in an organic form on the U.S. market.
If you have any questions about the value of organics in you and your family’s diet, I suggest you read this article to get the drift of why buying organic is so important today.