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Basic Blue-ribbon Chili

Blue Ribbon "Cowboy" Basic Chili Recipe

3.67 from 3 votes


Chili Paste

  • 2 large Dried mild chilis, like New Mexico chilis or Guajillo chilis
  • 1-2 small Spicy chilis like chili arbol (or use 1/2 tsp ground cayenne)
  • 3 cloves garlic, or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Large Onion (chop the other half to cook with your meat or veggies in the chili)
  • 2 Tbsp Chili powder
  • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro (fresh is best)
  • 1 tsp Chipotle powder or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 C. Chicken, veggie, or beef stock. or water if you don't have stock.
  • 1/4 C. Diced tomatoes - Canned work well if you don't have fresh Reserve the rest of the canned tomatoes and their juices for the chili.
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Cowboy Chili

  • 1/2 Large Onion, diced (leftover from the chili paste)
  • 1 Pound 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 3 Cans Small Red Beans Other beans can be used if you prefer. Mix and Match!
  • 1 Can Diced tomatoes with their juices, plus the leftover diced tomatoes from the Chili paste. About 24oz total.
  • 3-4 C. Chicken or Beef stock
  • 1 tsp. Chocolate chips (about 8 chocolate chips)
  • 1-2 tsp. Kosher Salt


  • Blend together the Chili paste ingredients using a blender until smooth.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, cook the ground beef and the onions until onions become transparent.
  • Add the chili paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to keep it form sticking to the bottom.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the beans and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, and salt to taste, then let simmer for 30-45 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. If it becomes too thick, add more stock.