Champion Chili

You are in for it: my all-time unbeatable chili recipe. This is beloved by friends, coveted by those who know its secrets. It won the 'Department of Biological Sciences Chili Cook-off in 2012'.  It's taken home top prize at my work's 'Chili Friday'. It EVEN stole top title as 'Potluck Champion, 2015'. The accolades are impressive, I know. TENs of people have told me how much they enjoy this recipe. 

Champion Chili Recipe
Champion Chili Recipe

And now, it's part of your repertoire. 

The winning combination for this chili recipe (in my opinion) is its deep beef flavour (from simmering down beef broth), a mixture of beans for a variety of textures and a sweet kick from molasses and brown sugar. Added to the mix: coco gives a deep, rich flavour.

This recipe has been adapted over time from a recipe I got from my dear Aunt Dorothy. She was one of the people who sparked my interest in cooking and I owe her a lot. But not as much as I owe her for this recipe. It really is a champ. 

Chili Recipe

This recipe feeds a crowd and can be easily doubled, or even tripled.  I recently did just that for a ski trip with friends - and as always the chili was a hit. Those faces don't lie! 

The best part? This is a part of our (kinda) healthy recipe series.  You can kick-up trimming your waist line with some simple substitutions. Knock out the bacon to cut calories. You can also substitute ground turkey or TVP for the beef (careful, you'll also be cutting taste). Even in it's current form, it's all together a healthy option - high protein, high fiber and chalk full of nutrients.The bonus? Damn tasty. 

Chili Recipe with Friends
Kinda Healthy Recipe Series

Champion Chili


  • 6 slices of thick-cut bacon, sliced

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 sticks of celery, diced 

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 L beef broth

  • 1 can of diced tomato 

  • 1 can of mixed bean medley

  • 1 can of white beans

  • 1 can of pork and beans

  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp fancy molasses

  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 bay leaf 

  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce 

  • 1/2 tsp coco powder

  • chili powder to taste

  • 1/4 tsp tobasco sauce 

  • salt to taste

  • pepper to taste


  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook the sliced bacon until crispy over medium heat.

  2. Remove the bacon and set aside.  Add beed to the pot, half a pound a time and cook until browned. Season each half pound with a half tbsp chili powder (or your preference) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set browned beef aside.

  3. In the bacon and beef fat, add the diced onion and cover with a lid.  Turn heat to medium-low and cook onion until caramelized, 15-20 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.  The onions should be a deep, dark, sweet brown. Add the garlic and celery and cook 2-3 minutes longer. 

  4. Add the beef broth to the pot and turn heat to medium-high. When the broth boils, turn heat to medium and simmer until reduced by 2/3rds.

  5. Add the diced tomato's, beans, vinegar, sugar, molasses, mustard powder, worcestershire, tabasco, coco powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, bay leaf and any additional chili powder to taste. Stir. Return the beef and bacon to the pot. Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper. Add water to cover the chili. 

  6. Cover the chili and place in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Uncover and cook for a further 1 hour or until thickened to desired consistency. Revel in the miraculous chili perfume that envelops your home. 

  7. Serve with your favourite sides: cheddar cheese, sour cream, limes, cilantro, tortilla chips.

Chili Recipe


James Ede