Picture of 15-minute Indiana-style Chili
This is a recipe that I've been evolving over about 15 years, rooted in the recipe that I used with my mother at home in Indianapolis, IN. Since then, I've thrown in some cooking nuances I learned from some of my friends from Texas and Mexico, along with a lot of stuff I picked up by trial and error.

Trial and Error

Here are the most useful things I picked up by trial and error, and from my friends from other places along the way:

1. Cook the meat longer than you think you should, and don't drain all the fat. Continuing to cook the meat along with the fat makes the ground beef extremely tender.
2. Add only dry spices during the fat-simmering stage of cooking. If you add wet spices, it ruins the cooking due to the water content. However, the dry spices will get absorbed by the fat, and then cook into the meat.
3. Cumin is the flavor that I think of when I think of the flavor of chili. Always add a lot more than you think you should (if you're like me). Others like the flavor of chili powder more, so if you're one of those, just add a lot of chili powder.
4. Spice the meat much more heavily than you think you should -- that way you don't have to spice the tomatoes and beans at all. The flavor from the meat will just leech out into the liquid.
5. Raw onions have a much better flavor in chili than cooked onions. So, instead of sauteeing onions as most people would do before cooking the beef in the onions, add fresh onions at the very end of cooking.
6. The longer you cook the chili in a crock pot, the more flavorful and tender it will be. In particular, the beans take a long time to develop flavor.
7. The beans and tomatoes take forever to warm up, so it's best to start them in the crock pot on high heat while you're preparing the meat+spice mixture.
8. Chipotle chilis have an awesome, but extremely strong flavor. Great to use, but don't use too much!

And now the rough instructions! You should definitely adjust the spicing to suit your tastes. Some people prefer heavy-cumin (like me). Some prefer heavy chili powder. Some prefer no beans. Some prefer only a little salt, some like a lot. Some like it really spicy (cayenne peppers!) and some like it sweeter (paprika and guajillo peppers). About 30% of the population hates cilantro and thinks it tastes like soap (!?!). So, due to the wide variation in taste preferences, I won't bother to give a huge amount of detail on spice amounts other than the rough indications in the video.
l8nite4 years ago
Im always interested in new chili recipes. I kind of agree with you about the taste of onions being better raw (especially the sweet ones) but I also like to cook some of the flavor into the meat, I sometimes use a tip from the food network and grate some onion into the meat mix and add chopped onions later in the process. Thank you for sharing
canida4 years ago
Mmmm, Indiana-style chili!
I'm a fan of browning onions before/with the meat. Yum.