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Step into a flavor fiesta with our Chili con Tres Carne recipe! It’s three types of meat simmered in aromatic spices and zesty tomatoes to make your new favorite chili.
The colder weather has descended upon us and there’s nothing I like better on a cold night than a bowl of steaming hot chili. Since I have been in several chili cook-offs before and have one winning chili recipe, Chipotle Beef Chili, I was excited to try my hand at a new chili recipe.
After checking out probably close to a hundred chili recipes online as well as looking through my own chili recipes, I combined a ton of different elements from different recipes into one totally MAG recipe for Chili con Tres Carne.
what is chili con tres carne?
Chili con carne simply means chili with meat. It’s a spicy soup made with ground beef, peppers, tomatoes, beans, and spices. Adding in the “tres” means that this version of the chili has three different meats in it. One will always be ground beef but the other two can be different combinations of meat
- Bacon (I usually use thick cut but you can use your favorite flavor or cut)
- Ground Beef (leaner is better in this case so 85/15 is the perfect blend)
- Pork Chops (boneless or bone in pork chops can be used)
- chili powder (this is the base flavor of the chili-it adds spice and depth of flavor)
- cumin (this is the other base flavor for the chili)
- onion (I prefer a sweet onion but you can use your favorite type)
- diced green chilies (this adds a bit of heat; if you want more heat use jalapenos)
- kidney beans (light or dark can be used)
- chili beans (I like using chili beans in a mild chili sauce to add flavor to my soup)
- corn (fresh, canned, or frozen can be used)
- diced tomatoes (Tomatoes add a rich and tangy flavor to the chili which enhances the overall taste. The acidity in tomatoes helps balance the richness of the meat and the spiciness of the chili peppers.)
- tomato sauce (this adds more tomato flavor but without the chunks)
- beef broth (this will add more beefy flavor to the chili)
- beer (Beer adds a unique depth of flavor to chili that complements the spices and ingredients. The flavors of the beer result in a richer, more complex profile. )
- cocoa powder (this add a complexity to the chili and helps to balance out the heat of the peppers)
Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. It may seem long but many of the ingredients are things you probably already have around your house or things that you can easily buy at the market.
The most important ingredients in the chili are the meats. Since tres carne means three meats in Spanish this recipe has three meats in it. I chose to include bacon, pork chops, and ground beef in this incredible chili recipe.
What other meats can I use in the chili?
No matter what other meats your choose to include in the chili that one meat that should be in it is ground beef. The other meats can vary according to what you like in your chili or what you already have in your house. Some of the meats you can choose from include:
- ground pork
- pork loin
- ground turkey
- boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ground venison
- ground bison
I spiced my chili up with some green chilies and chili powder. You could also add in chipotle peppers or jalapeno peppers if you want additional heat.
Then I added in the vegetables. I used kidney beans, chili beans, tomatoes, corn, and onions. You add different vegetables if you want too.
what vegetables can I add to my chili?
To start with choose the type of beans you want to use in your chili. Popular chili beans include kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans. You can also add a variety of vegetables like:
- onions (to add a savory and slightly sweet flavor to the dish)
- bell peppers (these add a sweet and colorful element to chili-choose your favorite color)
- celery (adds a subtle earthy flavor and a nice crunch to your chili)
- carrots (adds a hint of sweetness and color to your chili)
- corn (adds a hint of sweetness along with texture)
- diced zucchini (adds a mild flavor and additional texture to your chili)
- mushrooms (adds an umami flavor)
The base of this recipe was easy. The hard part came when I was trying to season it. I almost had my entire spice rack out next to the pot as I tried to decide which spices would work well together. I think I ended up with the right choices.
I ended up using chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. On top of that I added a bit of cocoa powder for richness and some beer for flavor. These may sound like unusual flavors but they really worked well together.
I love how this chili looks and tastes. It’s actually a pretty chili with the colorful beans and corn in it. The flavors are spicy and complex. The hint of cocoa really adds an extra dimension to the chili.
More Chili Recipes:
- Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili
- Chili Corn Chip Pie
- Chili with Quinoa
- Chili and Rice Casserole
- Buffalo Chicken Chili
I think this is one of the best chili recipes I’ve made. Between the three meats, the vegetables, and the spices this chili has everything.
But, don’t take my word for it, try this chili for yourself! You’ll be glad you did!
- 4 strips bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 lb. pork chops cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 onion diced
- 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can chili beans
- 1 15 oz can corn, drained
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with their juice
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 c. beef broth
- 6 oz. beer anything but light beer
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
- salt and pepper
For the topping:
- 1/2 c. cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 2 green onions chopped
- In a large stockpot fry the bacon pieces over medium heat until the begin to brown.
- Add in the pork chop cubes and saute until they are no longer pink.
- Add in the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix well and cook until the beef is browned
- Move the meat to the outer edges of the stockpot and add the onion, green chilies, bell pepper, and garlic to the center of the stockpot. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until they have softened.
- Add the kidney beans, black chili beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, beer, and cocoa powder to the stockpot. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
- Taste the chili and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
Best Chili Recipes
- Best Homemade Chili Dog Sauce from Jen Around the World
- Chili con Tres Carne from Hezzi-D’s Recipe Box
- Copycat Empress Chili (Cincinnati Style) from Palatable Pastime
- Frito Pie from Art of Natural Living
- Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chili from The Spiffy Cookie
- Southwestern Black Bean Chili from That Recipe