Cowboy Beef and Black Bean Chili

Chili snobs insist that real chili, especially real Texas chili, is never made with beans. Well, someone forgot to tell the Texas Beef Council from whose website I adapted this recipe (you can find theirs here).


  • 2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 or 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 can (14½  ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, I use Saranac Pale Ale
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 can (15 ounce), drained
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Brown the ground beef in a large (12-inch) non-stick frying pan over medium heat until beef is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to colander over a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch over or other large, heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeño and continue to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Add the meat to the pot along with the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and thyme. Stir for a couple of minutes to combine well then add the tomatoes along with the juice they are packed in and the beer. Defat the liquid in the bowl into which the meat drained and add it to the pot along with the cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add a bit of water if the chili seems to be drying out.  Add the beans and stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with salt and good grind of black pepper. Cook for another 15 minutes to heat the beans through and to blend the flavors.

Serve immediately with skillet cornbread and the usual chili condiments.


4 responses to “Cowboy Beef and Black Bean Chili

  1. Laura Love February 5, 2011 at 14:40

    Great recipe! I have never tried adding beer, but I think I’ll remember that for the next chili night. Will the beer work in the slow cooker?

  2. Amy Abbott McDonnell February 6, 2011 at 12:16

    Trying a version of this in the crock pot as I type this. Had to make a few changes, as I was cooking with what I had on hand. No black beans, so I used light red and white kidney beans and a small can of garbanzos. No ground beef, but I had some steaks frozen, so thawed and chunked and seared that. Used a bottle of Magic Hat #9, and also added two pints of the home-canned salsa that I made too much of this summer (which has some vinegar in it, so I’ll probably leave that out). Smells heavenly already. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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