Chunky Chili

Here’s the first recipe with my homemade chili powder from earlier this week. It’s a hearty, slightly spicy, comforting chili with chunks of nicely tender beef rather than ground meat. I put in some onion, tomatoes, bell peppers and corn and found it very yummy and satisfying.

Chunky Chili

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Chunky Chili Recipe

serves 4


  • one 2.5-pound chuck roast
  • vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons homemade chili powder (get the recipe here)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • half a 15-ounce can corn
  • half a green bell pepper, diced
  • half a red bell pepper, diced



  1. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes, trimming off excess fat as you go.
  2. Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a a Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides. Do this step in batches (adding more oil as needed) so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Sear the meat well but watch out not to burn it.
  4. Transfer the meat and accumulated juices into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add chili powder and onion and fry for a minute (add more oil if you need to).
  6. Add garlic and fry until fragrant.
  7. Add tomato paste and chicken broth.
  8. Stir well, then add the meat back in, then add the diced tomatoes.
  9. Bring to a boil, then put on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  10. Add the diced bell pepper and the corn and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
  11. Serve with bread or over rice.


Food Photography and Styling: My first thought was to put the chili in a bowl but that thought alone bored me to tears since I’ve shot so much in a bowl lately. Instead I chose my purple cup, I thought it would convey a good comfort food feeling. To add to that feeling I showed some steam (I used an espresso machine with tubing to generate the steam. In my experience there are very few foods that you can get hot enough to produce enough steam on their own to be seen by a camera). Otherwise I kept things simple with just a spoon and some crumbled bread in the composition for an overall relaxed and natural look.

Nikon D600, 105mm, f/8, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.


  1. Doc Chuck says:

    As a native Texan, you had my attention UNTIL you got to the corn part. By the way, that is a great photo (except for the corn) :>)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Hahaha! Yeah, I knew my anything-goes attitude might ruffle some feathers eventually…just think of it as a spicy beef stew instead of a chili. :) And thanks for the compliment about the photo, I appreciate it!

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