Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Susan's Hawaiian Style Chili

I have loved to cook from when I was a small child, which resulted in numerous kitchen disasters, that thankfully didn't discourage me and became lessons instead.

One of the first things that I learned to cook was chili using a packet of chili seasoning.  It was easy and fool proof, all I had to do was brown the meat, add the chili packet, a can of tomato sauce, beans and water.  It really doesn't get easier than that! However, if I didn't have a package of chili seasoning in my pantry, I couldn't make chili. Until now!

One day out of curiosity (this was way before everyone was reading labels) I read the ingredients list on the back of the package and said to myself, “Is that all that’s in there”?  From that point forward I gave up the season packets and came up with this recipe.

This is my recipe for easy chili without the package.  I usually make this chili with ground beef and will continue to.  But this time I did it a bit differently.

My husband was going to grill burgers for dinner and I started thinking about chili.  So I bought an extra pound of burgers and asked him to grill them up at the same time for a pot of chili.  This turned out to be a great experiment.  All the basic flavors for the chili where still the same but the addition of the bite sized pieces of smoky burger steak added a nice flavor and a meatier feel to the chili (I also added about a pound of leftover roast pork).
Ok, I know that we don’t always have extra burgers to grill up and a pound of roast pork ready and waiting to go in the chili pot. However, it should be noted that leftovers make great chili and leftover grilled burgers will add a tremendous amount of texture and flavor to your chili without increasing the cooking time, which would be needed if using cubes of chuck or sirloin.  

So the next time you fire up the grill, get an extra pound or two of ground beef and grill it up for chili or anything that you would use ground beef in.  It will give your humble hamburger meal a smoky steak flavor and bite.

My notes to you...
If you add cooked burgers to your chili instead of ground beef.  Cut it into bite sized pieces and add it to the pot when the onions are soft.

When you add the seasoning and the flour it will stick to the bottom of the pot.  This is ok, don’t let it burn, but the yummy stuff that cooks and sticks to the bottom adds flavor to the chili and will come off when you add the liquids and beans.

Make sure to stir your chili occasionally so it won’t stick to the bottom while it’s simmering.

I used Italian stewed tomatoes because I buy them bulk at Costco and use them in everything.  So you don't have to use those, you can use whatever stewed tomatoes you like.

Sometimes I rinse the beans and sometimes I don’t.  When I make chili I add the liquid from the can to the pot.  The bean liquid adds a bit more body to the chili.

I also really like canned chili beans (seasoned pinto beans).  Their liquid is very flavorful.


2          pounds            lean ground beef
1          large                onion, chopped small
2          cloves              garlic, minced
2          Tbsp.               chili powder
1          Tbsp.               cumin
2          tsp.                  kosher salt
¼         tsp.                  black pepper
1          tsp.                  chili garlic sauce (more if you like your chili spicy)
¼         cup                  flour
14        oz. can             Italian stewed tomatoes
8          oz. can             tomato sauce
1          cup                  water
2         15oz. can          chili beans, with liquid
1         15oz. can          kidney beans, with liquid

In a 4 ½ quart pot saute onions over med heat in about 2 Tbsp. oil; cook onions until soft then add the garlic; cook for another minute.  

Add beef to the pot breaking it up as it cooks; cook until the beef is no longer pink.

Add chili powder, cumin, kosher salt, pepper and chili garlic paste.  Stir to mix.

Add the flour and mix to blend.  Cook for about 3 minutes to remove the raw flavor from the flour; stirring occasionally.

Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and the beans with their liquid.  Stir to mix and bring to a gentle boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and let cook for about 15 - 20 minutes; stir occasionally to prevent chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot.


  1. Yum! All those kidney beans, it definitely reminds me of Zippy's chili. I'm going to save this recipe when it gets a little colder here in Hawai'i. Not so cold yet...but hopefully next month it will.

    1. Mahalo for stopping by Jen, I appreciate the Aloha!

  2. Susan, a touch of cinnamon makes a big difference in chili as well as meat sauce.
    A former Chef

    1. I have used cinnamon in baked beans, but have never thought to add it to chili. Thank you for the tip :)