Chili, Traditional, For a Crowd (Extra Large Recipe)

A big batch of chili comes in handy for feeding a crowd. I made this for the last Chili Cook-Off our church had. No, I didn’t win the cook-off, but we did LOVE this chili! One caveat: I used homemade Worchestershire sauce (there’s a good recipe here, on Saveur, and there’s also one in my Soup’s On cookbook). I think that made it extra special!

I was glad our friend Toby won. He only made some to help his wife out, who was heading up the event. The day before, it had started to look like there would be only three folks making chili, so he stayed up past midnight to make a batch himself.

We ended up with a lot of chili to try that day. One was called “Three Buck Chuck”. We wondered about the gamey taste; we eventually realized that  it had deer meat in it!

This makes 2-plus gallons of chili; about 20-24 or servings.

Bowl of Chili and corn breadINGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. dry kidney beans
  • 3 lb. lean ground beef
  • Olive oil for grilling veggies
  • Approx. 6 c. chopped onion (4-5 lg.)
  • 6 chopped green peppers (sub Anaheim or Poblano for variety)
  • 1 #10 can (6 lb. 9 oz.) tomato pieces
  • 1/2 c. Worchestershire Sauce
  • 2 TBS. salt
  • 1/2 c. chili powder
  • 8 c. of water (as needed)
  • Optional: 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • Optional: Sour cream, cilantro, chopped jalapenos or raw onion, etc.


1. Bring to boil in a medium-large pot:  > Half-pot of water

2. Add, and then simmer until tender, 1 hour or so: > 2 lb. dry kidney beans (ideally, soaked overnight, in the refrigerator)

3. When beans are done, drain off cooking water. Put beans back in pot.

4. Saute’ in iron pan: > 3 lb. lean ground beef

5. Drain fat off if necessary; add to cooked beans in pot. In same pan, sauté: > Approx. 6 c. chopped onion > 6 or so chopped green peppers (or other variety) > olive oil

6. Into the pot of beans and meat, add the grilled veggies, plus the following: > 1 #10 can tomato pieces > 2 TBS. salt > 1/2 c. chili powder* > 1/2 c. Worchestershire Sauce > more water as needed (to right consistency)

7. Simmer all ingredients 1 hour or so. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and condiments, as desired.

* You can make homemade chili powder for cheaper than commercial, and it won’t have MSG in it. Just mix the following in a bowl and store in a small jar: > 1 c. paprika > 1 c. garlic granules > 1 c. cumin powder > 1/4 c. cayenne

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