I know what you may be thinking. Maple chili, what the heck is that? Well, my friends. It’s my secret ingredient in my chili recipe. I’m not the award winning chili winner for nothing. Total joke, but this started over ten years ago when my husband and I first got married. I was 19 and he was in the military, so when I moved to Kansas to be with him, I was trying to find a community. I found one with the local FRG (family readiness group) which is a group that hosts family events & fun things to bring everyone together. They had a chili cook off one weekend and I was SO proud to try making chili for the first time ever and putting it into the cook off.
Well, we got to the cook off and there was only ONE other entry!! So many people, and only another gal and myself had participated. We both won and took home the prize of a $25 local restaurant giftcard. I was super thrilled, but it still is an ongoing joke that I am clearly the #1 FRG Chili Cookoff Winner of 2012. Year after year I was finding that my chili seemed like it was missing something. I don’t tend to add a lot of spice to mine, because we’re always feeding kiddos. My children do like a slight spice, but adding in maple syrup to this chili recipe takes the cake. Make it in the Fall or Winter for the ultimate cozy lunch or dinner!
You can cook this on the stove top, crockpot, or my personal favorite; instant pot but on the slow cooker setting. I make it around lunch time and let it sit in there for the afternoon, whip up some sourdough bread or cornbread and dinner is served!
I prefer to always use grass fed ground beef, because the vitamins and benefits of eating grass fed beef are really great. It has antioxidants, high amounts of omega 3s, & has beneficial fats. We buy our meat from a local farmer and get a whole cow share to split with friends once a year and fill our freezers! I also will grate off beef liver into this meal and my family has no idea. I know, it sounds very gross, but beef liver also has a crazy amount of nutrients and you can’t taste it when prepared properly. I use a cheese grater and take the liver from the freezer, grating about 1/2 cup into the ground beef mixture while cooking on the stove. If you’re not into eating actual liver, but would like the nutritional benefits, check out where I get mine in a pill form. Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty.
- Ground Beef
- Garlic Cloves
- Beans- Kidney, Pinto, or Black beans; or a combination!
- Tomato Sauce/Paste & Diced tomatoes
- Maple Syrup
- Olive Oil
- Broth; preferably bone broth for added nourishment, but beef or chicken broth works!
- Bell pepper (green or sweet peppers are great!)
- Seasonings: Chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, paprika, and cinnamon
- First, I sizzle a little olive oil in a pan or cast iron skillet to get the beef cooking and then chop up my veggies.
- After the beef cooks, I remove it and add in garlic and onions to sauté them up a bit to give them great flavor.
- Add the beef, onions and garlic to the vessel (dutch oven, instant pot, slow cooker) with remaining ingredients and cook on low for at least 4 hours
- Serve with sour cream, avocado, jalapenõs, chips, cornbread, shredded cheese or sourdough bread
It’s as simple as that! And while you’re at it, my best advice is to make two batches so you can freeze one to whip out on a night you don’t want to cook or are too busy to make a from-scratch meal. Instead of adding everything to a pot, you would put it into a freezer bag, label it and throw it right into the freezer. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
The BEST Maple Chili
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green or sweet bell pepper
- 2 cups of broth (bone, beef, or chicken)
- 1 15oz can of kidney beans
- 1 15oz can of pinto beans (or black beans)
- 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce OR 2 TBS tomato paste
- 2 TBS maple syrup
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 TBS oregano
- 1 TBS chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large pot or cast iron skillet, add your olive oil over medium heat
- Cook your ground beef until no longer pink
- Remove beef and add chopped onions & minced garlic, cook until soft
- Add beef, onions and garlic to pot with the remaining ingredients
- If cooking in a slow cooker or instant pot with slow cooker setting, you can do 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. If you’re using the stove top, I would do 4 hours on a low/medium setting.