Grandma’s favorite chili relies on canned pantry staples (canned tomato soup, chili beans, and diced tomatoes) which makes it perfect for throwing together in busy or stressful times.
Why It Was Grandma’s Favorite
It’s an easy, versatile, and flavorful chili that my Grandma used to feed Grandpa and four growing boys.
She’d mix it together, and then let it simmer on the stove for several hours (stirring occasionally) to develop flavor. That allowed her to work on other things while dinner was cooking.
It’s versatile because you can use ground beef, venison, or turkey for the meat; or any combination of these depending on what’s readily available.
And, you can vary the heat by using mild, medium, or hot chili beans, use more or less jalapeno pepper (either seeded or unseeded), and add chili pepper if desired.
Why We Still Love It
The condensed tomato soup gives it a slightly sweet base, so the heat of the other ingredients hits you slowly. I regularly make several different chili recipes (see this awesome Chicken Chili for another great recipe), but grandma’s chili is an easy, dependable, “go-to” favorite that I can vary to suit the situation. You know, some like it hot, and some don’t…….
My base recipe for this (not too hot but somewhat spicy) is to use the unseeded jalapeno pepper, the medium chili beans, and no added chili pepper.
Everyone usually likes it prepared this way – but for just us, I’d probably move to the hot beans and add at least a 1/2 teaspoon of the chipotle pepper. The chili shown in the pictures is a double batch made with venison.
Of course, offering different toppings that each person can individually add to grandma’s chili just makes it that much better. We like shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, onions, and sometimes even corn chips.
Or, freshly-baked cornbread makes a great side dish with this recipe.
- 1 lb lean ground beef, venison, or turkey
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 red or yellow pepper (chopped)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (optional, and either seeded or unseeded, I use unseeded, chopped)
- Ground chipotle chili or other pepper (to taste)
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup (10 3/4 oz.)
- 2 cans chili beans (16 oz., mild, medium, or hot depending on taste)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
- Brown the ground meat on low, and add the onion, red or yellow pepper, and jalapeño pepper.
- Cook until the vegetables are slightly limp and add the chili pepper, tomato soup, chili beans, and diced tomatoes.
- Stir together, add two soup cans of water and simmer uncovered (stirring regularly to prevent burning) for several hours to blend flavors.