Emergency Chili


I woke up yesterday and realized that my heat wasn’t working. It was 10 degrees outside.  REAL…FREAKING…TEARS.

In the afternoon, I finally got a hold of a plumber and left work early to meet him at the house. “Oh sorry, I’m still at another job.. I should be there in about 3 hours.” MORE TEARS.

Thank goodness I have a super duper serious space heater– and that jumbo glass of wine didn’t hurt either.  Exactly three hours later Earl fixed my boiler and all was right with the world.

When its this snowy and dreary all I want is warm, hearty, spicy food that is easy to make. Considering how frigid this winter has been, I knew ahead of time that I needed to have some ground beef in the freezer and beans in the pantry … with all this talk of a ‘polar vortex’ it was only a matter of time before I’d have a need for emergency chili.  The added benefit of making chili on a cold day is that having your stove on for an hour or so really warms up the house.  Don’t worry… you don’t actually need to be in the kitchen for the whole hour—once everything is in the pot you can go sit down and catch up on The Mindy Project.

Emergency Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 3 pounds of ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 2 large onions, very finely diced
  • 2 large green bell peppers, very finely diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (32 oz)
  • 3 cans of kidney beans (14 oz)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of cumin
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of honey/agave
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat with a few large pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper and saute until cooked through. Remove from pot, drain oil and set the meat aside.
  2. Add a couple of table spoons of oil to the pan and saute the onions and peppers until soft (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Add garlic to the pot and cook for 2 more minutes and then put the meat back into the pot.
  4. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat with no oil. Add the cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder, paprika, cayenne and oregano, and toast for about 1 minute, shaking the pan or stirring the mixture every 10-15 second. Add the spice mixture to the pot.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and honey and stir the mixture. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Reduce he heat to medium, cover the pot and allow the chile to simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Drain the beans and add to the pot. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and serve with your topping of choice.
You don't have to dry roast the spices in a separate pan if you're short on time or patience. But I seriously suggest trying it since it brings out the flavor of most spices. You'll immediately smell the difference and you'll definitely taste it in the end product.



  1. Lauryn says

    Tried this recipe on a Thursday night and it was perfect! Simply perfection! Toasting the spices definitely added a depth to the taste. So great! Thank you!!

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