3-Bean Chili con Carne

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3-bean chili con carne

{The making of 3-Bean Chili con Carne}

Yesterday was the perfect weather for making a heartwarming 3-Bean Chili con Carne; cold, dark and damp.  Yes, some days just call for a big pot of chili to be simmering away on the stove.


My son told me, if he were a judge at a chili contest, he would vote for this because he just kept on wanting to eat it.


When making this 3-Bean Chili I use a variety of bell peppers to give it a nice colorful look, but you could use just one color; although I do find a slight difference in taste from red, to green, to yellow or orange. You could also use only one type of bean but again, I personally like having the different textures and sizes of beans.

I know this is not a “Texas” pure chili because it has beans in it and some chili lovers will tell you that it’s all about the meat.  And just meat. I understand that, but I like beans in my chili; beans add good flavor, texture, and fiber.  And we all know that fiber is good.

Now I like my chili thick; not super thick, but thick. You can accomplish this in one of two ways, one, uncover the pot and allow the liquid to boil down to where you like it. The other, and this is my preferred method, is to make a slurry of masa and water (mix 2 parts water to 1 part masa) then mix this in, bit by bit, until you reach the constancy you like. To me, the addition of the masa helps turn this into a truer chili flavor. Just be sure to add it in slowly, as it will take a few minutes to thicken. If you happen to add too much and your chili gets too thick, add back a bit more liquid.

My son told me, if he were a judge at a chili contest, he would vote for this because he just kept on wanting to eat it.  That’s good enough for me!

Try this with some delicious  Jalapeño Cornbread!

3-Bean Chili con Carne


3-Bean Chili con Carne


  • 2 pounds beef, cut into about 1/4 inch cubes or coarsely ground (they call this grind, chili grind)
  • Extra virgin olive, or other vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped bell pepper (I used yellow and red, but use whatever colors you want to)
  • 2 medium jalapeno (check for heat factor by taking a little taste of each one, some are more like bell pepper some are hotter, adjust your heat according to what you taste on your taste test, and how hot you like your chili)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (that’s about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup beef broth, or water, or as needed (I like beef broth because it just gives a richer flavor, but water works too)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced or whole tomatoes, with the juice, coarsely chopped (I even chop the diced ones so I don’t have big pieces of tomato floating around in my chili)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good quality chili powder (depending on how hot you like your chili)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder (or to taste)
  • 1 – 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans in chili sauce (such as S & W Chili Beans) undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
  • Additional water, as needed
  • Masa mixed with water, as a thickener, if desired (optional)


Step 1

In a deep pot, or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium low heat; add the bell pepper, jalapeño and onions, saute until just getting soft, but do not brown. Add the meat and garlic, saute over low heat until the meat looses its color. I hate to say, get the meat grey, but really, that's what you want to do

Step 2

Add the chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, tomatoes and beef broth (or water) so it just covers the meat; stir well, cover and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.

Step 3

Add the beans and any additional water needed to cover the ingredients; cover the pot and simmer and additional hour.

Step 4

Thicken by either cooking down the liquid or adding the masa.

Taste, adjust your seasonings and serve it up. I like to top mine with some chopped onion (red onions are nice, as are green onions) and some shredded cheddar cheese. Crushed tortilla chips are also nice on top.

Crockpot: You could also make this in a crock-pot.  If you do I wouldn’t bother with pre-cooking the meat or sauteing the peppers, just put the first ingredients into the crock-pot and cook on low until you are ready to add the beans, then kick it up to high; add the beans and allow it to continue to cook for an hour.  Then proceed with the masa, it will probably take at least 15 minutes and up to a half an hour for the masa to fully thicken in a crock-pot.


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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Cher on February 7, 2014

    I like my chili on the thicker side, as well. This recipe looks awesome – especially with the Jalapeno cornbread!

    • posted by LindySez on February 8, 2014

      It’s perfect with the cornbread Cher, makes a great dinner!

  2. posted by Elle on February 8, 2014

    I’m always interested in recipes with cumin in, it’s one of those spices that ‘light’ me up. This looks like a super easy and tasty recipe Linda. Do you make up these recipes as you go?

  3. posted by LindySez on February 8, 2014

    More or less Elle. I get an idea, I look up a bunch of recipes to see what others are doing, take the best of my knowledge in cooking and flavors and then put them together…writing and tasting and adjusting. The hard part for me it to make them again from my recipe, just to make sure I have it right. I automatically want to start tweaking it …

  4. posted by Jessica on February 9, 2014

    This recipe looks perfect for my busy schedule and picky eating toddlers! Thanks so much for sharing!


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    17g (6g Sat, 8g Mono, 1g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

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