There are dishes you warm up to and there are those you can’t seem to forget. This is my relationship to chili con carne. I warmed up to it because my first taste at age 11 was unforgettable. Chilies are apparently my waterloo. I can’t stand them and on that particular dish, there was a lot an 11 year old had to swallow.

Thus, I vowed never to taste the same dish again but not until a year later when my Mom had me try her version of it. It wasn’t bad; in fact, it was the same reason why I changed my mind about it. It wasn’t easy for me to endure a swollen tongue and the killer heat from those chilies. I may have bitten more seeds than I can chew. It was traumatic, to say the last, but thank goodness for Moms who make life better.

In a way, that experience taught me a lot. I have a love-hate relationship with chili and dishes that are all about them. I don’t want my own kids to experience the same thing but I didn’t want them to miss out on this delightful dish either.

On this one, I compromised on the on the chilies because a balance has to be made between sour and hot. Chili con carne is good to have on its own. If you’re that kind of fan, you don’t need bread to tame the heat in your mouth. Personally, I like it on rice or garlic bread. How about you?

But if it’s plain and simple, it would taste just as good, if not better than having rice. It’s all about personal preference. I want my chili con carne with something else (remember the trauma) and a glass of lemonade to cool my mouth down. Tell me what you can suggest on drinks with this. I have an inkling you’ll be making this recipe on your own may times over.


  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 chile pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 (15.25 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Prepare a medium-sized stock pot and heat up oil over medium heat. Then sauté the onion, chili pepper and garlic until they turn soft.
  2. Next, add the ground beef. Cook this and stir until meat is browned well.
  3. Pour in tomatoes with liquid, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add in kidney beans and stir the mixture. Cook this for another 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving. Best served warm.