This dish is essentially a hearty ground beef stew that has hints of southwestern flair to it while remaining completely subjective based on the geography in which it’s created (beans vs. no beans; spicy vs. mild and so on). So, basically, there is no right (or wrong) way to make this classic Americana dish.
That said, there’s Chili…and then there’s CHILI.
This here Chili is going to satisfy ANY Chili lover – guaranteed. Why? Because I load it up with some of the simplest and tastiest ingredients that packs a classic and premium flavor punch so rewarding, you’d better clear the mantle for that Chili cook-off trophy to proudly display!
Here’s How I Made It!:
Start out with an onion…
…and dice it up.
Now we have a trinity of peppers at three different spice levels we’re gonna add in (if you choose to use all three). We’ll take a poblano pepper, which is mild…
…finely diced with the seeds removed.
Then we’ll graduate to the next level and take a jalapeño pepper, which is medium in terms of heat…
…and, like the poblano, dice it up and de-seed.
Now we’re getting a little serious. For a pretty intense heat factor to complete the pepper trifecta, take a habanero pepper…
…and slice it in half, also removing the seeds. (Note: you can leave it out if you aren’t into spice, but it’s not going to be spice overkill – especially since we’ll be removing it)
Now go to the Instant Pot and toss in some butter and oil.
Once melted and sizzlin’, add in the onion…
…including that halved habanero (if you dare).
Coat everything with the butter and let cook for a few minutes.
After sautéing and letting the flavors come out, remove the habanero pepper and discard (or, if you choose to make this a super spicy chili, dice it up and return it to the pot).
Add in some garlic…
…and let cook for another moment.
Now we’ll take some ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken)…
…and add it to the pot. Stir and allow it to cook for a few minutes until crumbly, mixed with the veggies and lightly browned.
Next we’ll add in a little beer (I don’t mess around. And not to worry – your kids won’t get drunk. The heat will remove any alcohol)…
…some diced tomatoes (there are many varieties so use any of your choice)…
…a can of Rotel…
…and a can of tomato sauce.
Stir everything together very well, deglazing (scraping) the bottom of the pot.
Now let’s add some sauces to the mix! Take some hoisin sauce (secret ingredient! – it’s awesome)…
…some taco sauce…
…and some Worcestershire sauce.
Then season with kosher salt…
…and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (if you can get at your local market. If not, the link is here).
Stir everything together super well until nice and combined, deglazing the bottom of the pot once more (nothing should stick anyway).
Some people hate beans in their chili. I’m not one of those people. Take some red kidney beans and rinse ’em and drain ’em.
Add them on top of the chili…
…but DON’T STIR THEM INTO THE CHILI. Just use a spatula/spoon to smooth them out along the top so they’re resting there (they don’t need to be submerged). Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
When done, it’s gonna look and smell AWESOME so give it a stir.
Now, my secret and final touch to really send this chili home. Some CHILI Better Than Bouillon (I know, right?!) This stuff is hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. You can buy it here or here! It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home.
Add some into the chili…
…and stir it up nice and good. Allow the chili to cool down for a few minutes before serving.
When ready to serve, take a bowl (I love using these crocks)…
…add in the chili…
…and top with whatever you want (be it sour cream, cheese, oyster crackers or whatever else makes you happy!)
Now admire how gorgeous, full and perfect that chili is…
…bring it to your mouth…
…and be prepared to earn some pats on the back and some respect. This chili is BLUE RIBBON caliber!
- 1.5 lbs of ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken)
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) of salted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1-2 poblano peppers, finely diced with seeds removed (this is a mild pepper and if you can’t find one, you can use a green bell pepper)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely diced with seeds removed (optional as this is a medium hot pepper)
- 1 small habanero pepper, sliced in half with seeds removed (totally optional as this is a very hot pepper)
- 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup of beer (I used Budweiser, but you can really use any – and don’t worry, the beer will burn off and the kids won’t get drunk)
- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 10 oz can of Rotel
- 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup of taco sauce
- 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp of dried cilantro
- 2 tbsp of cumin
- 1/2 tbsp of chili powder
- 1 tsp of seasoned salt
- 1 tsp of celery salt
- 1 tsp of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (optional)
- Two 15.5 oz cans of red kidney beans, drained & rinsed (leave this out if you want it “Texas” style)
- 4 tbsp of Chili Better Than Bouillon (hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. If it’s sold out, just keep searching online but DO NOT pay more than $8 for an 8 oz jar. It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home!)
- Shredded cheddar/taco cheese
- Sour cream
- Oyster crackers
- Add the butter and vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” on the “More” or “High” setting. Once the butter’s melted and the oil’s sizzling, add in the onions, poblano, jalapeño and habanero peppers and stir & set for 5 minutes until softened and then add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove only the habanero pepper when done and discard
- Next, add the ground beef and stir until it cooks down and crumbles and becomes a slightly browned in color (about 3 minutes – it doesn’t need to be fully cooked yet). Its juices will be released while cooking and this is a good thing – keep them in the pot and do not drain
- Add in the beer, diced tomatoes, Rotel, tomato sauce, taco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hoisin sauce. Stir well and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot
- Now, add the kosher salt, Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, dried cilantro, seasoned salt, celery salt and Tony’s Creole seasoning (if using). Stir again until well combined
- Lastly, add the drained and rinsed kidney beans but DO NOT stir them in with the rest. Just lightly smooth them out as they rest on the top of the chili (see video for visual guidance)
- Secure the lid and select “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” High Pressure for 5 minutes (it may take up to 15 minutes to come to pressure so be patient). When done, do a quick release and allow the pot to sty on the “Keep Warm” setting
- When the lid comes off, give everything a good stir, add in the Chili Better Than Bouillon and stir again. Allow it to cool down to a warmish-hot, but not scalding temperature (about 10-15 minutes, as chili tastes even BETTER once it cools down a bit and the flavors have a chance to meld!)
- Ladle into bowls and top with some optional shredded cheese, sour cream or even my awesome refried beans. Serve it with my acclaimed Mexican Street Corn and/or my raved-about Creamy Chicken Enchiladas as terrific companions!
The Chili Better Than Bouillon is hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. You can buy it here or here! If it’s sold out, just keep searching online but DO NOT pay more than $8 for an 8 oz jar. You’ll be getting ripped off otherwise! It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home.
The reason we add the Chili Better Than Bouillon at the end and not before pressure cooking is because it’s a bit different from the other bases. It’s a less potent concentrate and therefore I feel the maximum flavor result occurs when you slather it on and mix it together with the chili at the end just before serving.
Hate beans and think it’s not a “real chili” if it has them? Well, fine then – LEAVE ‘EM OUT! 😉
If you have the time and feel like it, before adding them to the Instant Pot, feel free to roast the diced poblano peppers in the oven at 450 for about 5-10 minutes with some olive oil and sea salt drizzled on them. It will create an even richer flavor!
While this chili is absolutely top-notch, it is a known fact that the flavor of chili always REALLY comes out the next day when its had a chance to cool down in the fridge. The cold temperature makes all of the flavors meld so that when reheated, they come out in ways that are even more extraordinary than before! So you can DEFINITELY make this ahead of time and even freeze the leftovers!