Recipe of the Week: Secret Ingredient Chili

So one of my lovely readers asked me to share some recipes. I largely look for recipes on Pinterest, in health magazines, or in my cookbooks (Better Homes among others). The recipe I am talking about today I found on Pinterest.You can follow me on Pinterest by clicking here or by looking me up (ChillyHawaiian).

Because yesterday was a snow day, I had a bit of extra time and cooked up some chili, which I normally only cook vegetarian. I tried a recipe with meat for the first time and it was fabulous! I made a bunch of changes, so the recipe outlined below has the changes I made. Here’s the original recipe from Certified Pastry Aficionado, There are a bunch of great tips about making it, including a note about cooking times and vegetable options.

This is NOT a food blog, so I don’t have any of those fancy print icons or anything like that–I’m sorry! But if you want to give this a try, it makes a ton of food. The secret ingredient in my recipe is cinnamon. Yes, you read that correctly–cinnamon! I love the taste along with the ancho chili pepper. I served it with some boiled potatoes and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Note: this is a mild chili.

Meat Chili Recipe


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 -1 1/2 pounds ground meat lean (or ground turkey)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Ancho chili pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (28-ounces), or 2 cans (14.5-ounces), or fresh tomatoes
  • 1 can white kidney beans (15.5 ounces)
  • 1 can pinto beans (15.5 ounces)
  • toppings (cheese, sour cream, onions, cilantro, etc)


Heat a dutch oven or other oven safe pot (not cast iron, see CPA’s note) over medium heat. Add oil and ground meat of your choice. Once its cooked all the way through, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. If you use the cheapest ground beef option, which is what I always assumed you should use with chili, then it’s probably about 70 or 80%, in which case you need to get rid of some of the grease. I’d leave about a tablespoon of grease, if you can eyeball it. If you use a leaner ground meat, then you can leave all the grease in the pan.

Add the diced onions and cook until brown (about 5 min.). Add the bell pepper and cook until softened (about 5 min). Make a well inside the pan and cook the garlic in the middle of the pan, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. It only takes about 30 seconds until its fragrant, at which point you mix all of the veggies together.

Add all of the spices to the pot. If you like spicy, add more chili pepper. The original recipe calls for cayenne pepper, so you might want to add that. We have two picky eaters, so we leave off the spice. My recipe here has zero heat and my two year old was happy to eat it. Stir the spices until it’s fragrant and evenly distributed throughout the veggies. This is an important step! Don’t skip it because this is where you get all that flavor!

Add back in the ground meat and then add in the chicken broth. Stir to deglaze the bottom of your pan a bit. Then put a lid on it until it begins to simmer. Uncover, reduce heat, and let simmer 45-60 min. I did 45 min and was happy with the slightly soupy consistency.  If you like thick chili, then you need to cook it longer. You can see the original recipe for more notes on that.

Once it’s the consistency you like, add in your diced tomatoes and beans. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you’d like and you can use any kind of bean you’d like. Simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes to heat up the tomatoes and beans. Taste test to see if you like it and add more of anything you think you need. I didn’t add any more salt or seasoning when I was done, so be sure to taste it before adding things like salt.

Serve with your favorite toppings. Makes 8 servings (seriously, I counted). We had enough for leftovers and I froze some for later.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe that you’d like to share or link to this post? Did you make my recipe? How’d you like it? Any suggestions for serving leftover chili?


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