The Perfect Chili

My husband and I love to cook and we make up recipes all the time.  So far this chili recipe is one of our best creations!  Sometimes a recipe is inspired by another one, and this one gets its original concept from a recipe given to my husband by a friend of his.  Over the years we’ve eaten many varieties of chili.  We’ve taken what we believe to be the best parts of them and turned them into this Perfect Chili recipe.  If you love a traditional hearty, thick, and meaty chili then you will fall in love with this chili.  To quote my husband, “This chili is freakin’ delicious.”  I agree.       🙂


The Perfect Chili Recipe
(About 18 Servings)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage meat, removed from casings
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (equivalent to 1 ounce) ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup (equivalent to 2 ounces) chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons salt


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over Medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook them until they are tender and translucent (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add the turkey sausage, ground beef, and ground turkey and cook over Medium/High heat until the meats are browned, stirring often.
  4. Reduce the heat to Low and add the drained and chopped plum tomatoes, and the drained kidney beans.
  5. Add in the tomato paste, mustard, red wine, and lemon juice.
  6. Season with the garlic, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, basil, oregano, and salt.
  7. Stir all the ingredients together and let it simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Serve immediately.  Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer.


Typically I don’t like cooking something with a laundry list of ingredients but this chili is an exception.  First, any awesome tasting chili will require a variety of ingredients.  We tried to use fewer ingredients but the recipe never came out as good as this one.  Second, we make this chili on a regular basis so none of the ingredients will go bad sitting in my pantry.  Finally, virtually all of the ingredients are commonly found in all sorts of other recipes too.

It was important to us to make this chili recipe easy to make.  And easy it is!  Heat the olive oil and cook the onions until they are tender and translucent.  Add the meat and cook until it is browned.  Make sure to take the turkey sausage out of its casing before you add it to the pot since the goal is chili not gumbo.


My husband and I wanted to try to make this chili on the healthy side.  Using turkey sausage and ground turkey cuts down on the fat content.   Honestly, you can’t even tell that we used mostly turkey meats.  Taste was not sacrificed in making this chili healthier!  How awesome is that.     🙂


Don’t panic when you start measuring the spices, it definitely looks like a lot but you are making a lot of chili.  Add in the rest of the ingredients according to the directions above, stir and let it simmer for 20 minutes.  20 minutes!  Yup, that’s it.  I love how this chili doesn’t take hours to make and works great directly from the pot to the bowl.


There is only a little bit of wine in this chili but it’s worth it because it adds great flavor.  Please use wine that you would drink.  I don’t think the “cooking wines” found in most grocery stores add enough flavor to any recipe.  With the left over wine, enjoy a glass while you’re cooking.       😉  Plus since it’s in the chili, it obviously pairs perfectly at dinner time.

The combination of the herbs and ingredients in this chili truly create an awesome taste.  I don’t think any one ingredient stands out.  For example, I don’t like mustard… at all.  I don’t taste it in this chili, but it combines well with the other ingredients and I would never omit it.

All the aromas from this chili make the kitchen smell amazing!


Some people debate about whether a genuine chili should have beans in it.  Absolutely there should be beans in the chili!  However, they should be the side kick and the meats should definitely be the star ingredient.  That’s why there are only two cans of red kidney beans in this recipe that has 4 pounds of meat.  Red kidney beans are traditionally used in chilies and we think they add great texture.


Should chili be spicy?  Yes!  Everyone has different preferences for how much heat they can tolerate.  My husband likes very spicy foods, whereas I only like a little bit of it.  Needless to say it was difficult to find a balance to appease both of us, but we found it.   While I’m aware that calling something “hot and spicy” is subjective, I’m comfortable saying that according to both our taste buds, this chili definitely has some spiciness to it but it’s not crazy so.  If you want even more heat, you could add a dash of cayenne pepper or some of your favorite hot sauce to your bowl.


I am so proud of our recipe and I hope you enjoy it!





  1. Isn’t that just so true about one recipe inspires another one! I absolutely love chili…and this one is lookin delish! I love beans in my chili…so my vote is for the chili! (=

    1. Tina says:

      That’s awesome! Thanks Gloria. As always, I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

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