Friday, January 28, 2022

Cowboy Chili

After a very warm December, January has been below average cold and all things soup are finding their way onto our menu.  On this particular day with a high temp of 33F, it seemed like a perfect day to try Chef Lea Ann’s Cowboy Chili from her “Cooking On The Ranch” blog.  Since I made several recipe revisions, you can click the above link for Lea Ann’s original plus more photos like this.

My understanding is that if the cowboys make chili in Texas, it includes no beans and uses diced rather than ground beef and for this batch, I made it a little bit Texan by using diced beef.  Since I had 2½ pounds of meat, I doubled LA’s recipe to get the one below.  And since I was using tougher meat, I also cooked the beans and meat the same amount of time.

Cowboy ChileAdapted from Highlands Ranch Foodie


2 lbs. dried kidney beans Cooked

6 c. Beef broth or water

4 T. bacon grease

2½ lbs. top round London Broil

2 large sweet onion chopped, about 2½ cups

6 cloves garlic minced

6 T. cumin powder

4 T. Mild Chile Powder, or hotter for your taste for you taste

12 oz. tomato paste Good quality. Either Cento or Muir Glen.

4 c. water, if needed (Larry used 1 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes listed below


1. Soak dried beans overnight in water. Use enough water to cover the beans by an inch or two.

2. With the meat slightly frozen, cut into 3/8” dice and remove any fat.

3. Using a large Dutch oven, or soup pot, brown the meat in the bacon grease.  Add S&P.

4. When meat is about half browned, add the onion and cook, stirring often until onion is starting to become soft.  Add S&P

5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1 minute.

6. Add the cumin and chile powder and stir till everything is coated.

7. Stir in the tomato paste.

8. Drain the beans and add them and the beef broth to the pot plus some S&P and some water if needed to just cover the beans. (I didn’t need any)

9. Cover the pot and cook until beans and meat are tender, about four hours.  Add more water (one cup for Larry), as needed, to keep the beans just covered.

10. Taste and adjust seasons.

11. Serve with garnish and cornbread. Garnishes can include chopped avocado, sliced jalapeno peppers, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and cilantro.

The Verdict:

We all thought it was very good but much different than what we generally eat as chili which is tomato based and has more meat than beans where this one has more beans.  We also wanted a little more liquid in ours compared to Lea Ann’s version in the top pic.  The broth thickened on it's own to a nice consistency.

Refried Beans

Bev turned some of the leftovers into refried beans by mashing them a little and adding onion, garlic, Larry chili powder, and cheese.  They were maybe the best I've had made even better with a fried egg on top.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


01/21/22 event date


  1. Wow now thats a bowl of hearty chili to keep us warm!!

  2. Turning the leftovers into refried beans topped with an egg makes this girl very happy. Yum!

  3. Larry, This is definitely soup and chili weather! Love the fact that you used top round/London broil instead of ground beef. Great presentation photo! Nice leftover adaptation for breakfast too... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. I need to think outside the burger box and make chili with chopped steak. I'm so glad you liked the chili. I don't know if you followed Chef Christo's blog in the early days, he had some good New Mexico recipes. And I thought his Cowboy Chili recipe was very very good. It was rather fortuitous, I've been wanting to find a good Cowboy chili recipe for awhile now. One day Christo popped into my mind and I headed over to see if his blog was still on line. I couldn't believe my eyes when his last recipe was this one. And of course, love that breakfast idea.


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