Campfire Chili

imageCooking under the stars always makes things have a special taste. Whether cooked over the fire or on a camp stove does not seem to matter. I guess you could even get ok good results at home, IF you really have to 😉 but I strongly believe the view and therefore the mood you’re in while cooking influences the result and how could anything not be fantastic, having a view like that?  ‘Cooked with love’ as my Peruvian friend likes to say. Or maybe ‘with peace in your heart’ would be more fitting.image

For this easy and quick dinner I am using a variety of beans, to add some visual as well as textural interest, and you can certainly substitute your favorite beans for what was used here. Making this at home I would totally use frozen beans (I cook dried beans and freeze them in portions) but since this was going to be one of our optional meals, I brought some cans along so it wouldn’t spoil if we decided against it. If using cans just make sure you rinse them really well, they usually pack quite a punch of sodium. To get ‘the look’ below, use 3 different types of beans and some corn (the regular size can, US 15.5 oz) just understand that variety comes at a price: This dish feeds half an army (6 people) And since it was just the two of us, we ate it three times, with a side of cheddar corn muffins. The really awesome part about the quantity is we had leftovers (stored on the ice in the cooler) to take home and have for dinner after our trip. Nothing like coming back from an active vacation and dinner is ready 🙂


You may have notices that there is no onion in this recipe, and you could certainly add onion. We wanted to. Sadly for us however, the onion sat safely back at home in a bag with the extra cucumbers from the market, in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. But as I learned, with the right (rest of the) ingredients, that isn’t a problem at all and we could not even tell it was missing at all. Use a big can of San Marzano tomatoes if available, they are awesome for Chili. Yes, I am aware that they are Italian :), but trust me, makes all the difference. That and my secret ingredient, the steak seasoning.

imagecooking with wind guard and view of the lake


  • 1 can dark red kidney beans (15,5 oz)
  • 1 can butter beans (15.5 oz)
  • 1 can small red beans (15.5 oz)
  • 1 can no salt added corn (15.5 oz)
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes whole peeled (or stewed, chopped tomatoes) 28 oz (big can)
  • 2 lb mixed ground meat (half venison, half beef is fab)
  • 4-6 tablespoons medium to hot chili powder (Penzey’s makes an awesome one)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp steak seasoning (such as the one from La Cense or  Chicago Steak Seasoning)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat some oil in a pot over medium, add the ground meat, and proceed to cook and break apart using a spatula until the meat is cooked and not pink anymore.
  2. Add the spices and the tomatoes, then stir in the rinsed beans and corn (don’t open all the cans before hand, in case you run out of space, you can pass on one of the cans, bug make sure the ones you use are well rinsed)
  3. Cook until slightly thickened, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. The longer you stew it the more the flavors will blend (or heat, cook 10 minutes, and wait for the leftovers to do that)
  4. Serve with some Cheddar Corn Muffins and maybe a glass of full bodied red…

By the way, this is soooo easy to make, even a novice cook can whip it up in no time!


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