Go Back

Homemade Chili

Luke always craves chili on those "chilly" nights. (pun intended ^3^) So I developed this incredibly easy and fresh chili recipe with a few different ingredients that you don't normally see in the usual chili. I added smoked kielbasa, crispy polish bacon, and grated gruyere to add depth and crunch. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 people
Author Danielle Perea


For the Chili

  • ground beef
  • dark red kidney beans drained, rinsed
  • black beans drained, rinsed
  • red onion diced
  • garlic minced
  • bacon cut into thin strips
  • smoked kielbasa cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • canned tomatoes
  • chicken stock
  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce roughly chopped
  • rice vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • gruyere or gouda grated
  • worcestershire sauce
  • coarse sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • raw sugar
  • cornmeal & water equal parts dissolved


  • oregano
  • crushed coriander
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • paprika
  • fennel
  • fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • marjoram
  • turmeric
  • chipotle powder optional


  1. Prep the ingredients. (You'll see in the video that I jump around a lot between chopping board and stove. That's how I normally cook in my kitchen to cut down on prep time. I prep ingredients as I'm cooking.)

  2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and garlic to the pot. Sauté until translucent and almost caramelized. We need this sweetness from the onions to balance the spiciness of the chipotle peppers. 

  3. Be sure to drain the beans and rinse well until the water is clear. This will remove extra starches and unwanted flavors. 

  4. Add the ground beef to the pot once the onions are caramelized. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  5. Add the paprika, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, fennel, turmeric, marjoram, chipotle peppers, crushed coriander, raw sugar, worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, and canned tomatoes to the pot. Toss to evenly distribute. 

  6. Add enough chicken stock to slightly cover. Then, add the beans. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat.

  7. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick pan. Add the bacon and fry until crispy. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels when done. 

  8. After about 15 minutes, uncover the chili and skim off excess fat with a skimmer. I don't like having excess fat and foam in soups or stews because it makes the whole dish quite greasy. 

  9. After skimming the fat, add the chopped smoked kielabasa to the chili. 

  10. Dissolve equal parts of cornmeal and water. This will thicken the consistency of the chili. Add to the chili and stir quickly to dissolve. 

  11. Add the rosemary to the pot. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the chili. 

  12. Serve in a bowl with pita or flatbread. Top with the grated gruyere and bacon bits. 

Recipe Notes

  • You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less of the chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce. 
  • The smoked kielbasa adds a really nice textural touch to the chili.
  • Don't over-season with salt because the bacon, kielbasa, and gruyere are already a bit salty. 
  • Fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme lighten the otherwise heavy chili. You can use fresh oregano and marjoram if you can find them in stores as well. 
  • This is the perfect dish for a winter potluck. It serves quite a lot of people and will definitely keep you warm from the spice!