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Meaty Chili

This recipe—from our church cookbook—makes the best chili bar none. The secret ingredients are sugar and bay leaf.—Sue Norem, Ellsworth, Iowa
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
  • Makes
    about 45 (1-cup) servings


  • 10 pounds ground beef
  • 5 large onions, chopped
  • 5 quarts tomato juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 bunch celery with leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 bay leaves


  • In several large soup kettles, cook beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomato juice, water, beans, sugar, chili powder and salt. Cut leaves off celery and set aside. Chop celery; add to soup. Chop celery leaves; place in cheesecloth with the garlic and bay leaves. Tie with string and place in soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove spice bag before serving.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 264 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 623mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 22g protein.

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