Hearty Stew Meat Chili with Beans

This rich stew meat chili can be cooked in a crockpot or dutch oven and combines thick chunks of meat, ground meat, and hearty beans

It   takes a lot to turn my stomach. I’ve shucked and slurped oysters straight from the shoals where they grew, regularly enjoy sardines as a snack, and when it comes to cheese I typically believe the stinkier the better. My husband will give me the side eye when I’m about to indulge in something he wouldn’t be able to stomach, but knows I’ve never once complained of belly pains in the hours after.

So he was quite surprised when I called him on my way home from work last week and told him I thought I poisoned myself. “Ok,” he said, “start from the beginning.”

“I ate undercooked beans.”

“And…”

“…And apparently there’s a compound in them that’s toxic and I feel sweaty and nauseous.”

I spent the rest of the night in bed feeling awful because my impatience while cooking my dried beans got the better of me. Yes, undercooked beans are poisonous (seriously, Google it). And, no, they don’t teach you this in school so for the love, please cook dried beans thoroughly and use a fork to test their tenderness instead of tasting them like I did.

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Now that I’ve spoken my peace, let’s get down to brass tacks. Chili. Thick, hearty chili made with chunks of tender stew meat, ground meat, and beans. Even though they ruined a Monday evening, I still love beans. And I love chili with beans. They add a wonderful starchy texture that I think chili just needs.

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This is a beautiful recipe that’s perfect for game day or a cool Sunday afternoons spent catching up with great friends. Stew and ground meat combine to create an amazing hearty texture. If you’ve never used stew meat for chili, you can find a great guide on what cut of meat to use here. Low and slow is the key to make the meat tender. I used a dutch oven, but a slow cooker would also work for this recipe. We also used venison for this recipe, which adds an incredible earthiness that we enjoy, but beef would be perfect for this, too.

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This chili is hearty, meaty, starchy, and a perfect comfort food. Try it out and tell me about it in the comments below!

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Hearty Stew Meat Chili with Beans

  • 3 Cups Dried Beans or 6 Cans of Beans (I used a dry mix with kidney, navy, cranberry, and black beans. If using canned beans, I’d recommend 2 cans of kidney, 2 cans of black,  and 2 cans of navy or white.)
  • 2 Tbsp Canola Oil (Or any high heat vegetable oil of your choice)
  • 1 lb Stew Meat (Venison or beef)
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Medium Onions, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 Lb Ground Venison or Beef
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Quart or 32 Oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • Pepper
  • 2 Cups Beef Broth (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Mollasses
  • Shredded Cheese, for serving

If using dry beans, soak the beans overnight and simmer for 45 minutes until the beans are soft and set aside. If using a crockpot, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If using a dutch oven, preheat the oven to 325 and heat the oil in a 7 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and toss the stew meat until coated with the flour. Working in small batches, place the meat in the hot oil and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until brown. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pan and season with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes until completely browned.

If using a crockpot, add the stew meat, vegetables, ground meat, and the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot, using the beef broth if the mixture looks too thick or you’d like a thinner chili. Stir to combine and cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 1-2. Serve with grated cheese and enjoy!

If using a dutch oven, add the rest of the ingredients, using the beef broth if the mixture looks too thick or you’d like a thinner chili. Place the lid on the oven and place the dutch oven in the oven for 1-1/2 hours. Serve with grated cheese and enjoy!