Chili on a Chilly Day

Ah, chili. I don’t know what’s better…. The aroma of onions, tomato, and spices cooking and filling my home all day or that amazing first bite of homemade, gluten free beanless chili. It’s rainy today, chilly, and Sunday funday….the perfect setup for a hot bowl of deliciousness.

I have a confession, I’ve never made chili before. After much research and reading, I’ve come to the conclusion a good chili has a lot of depth to it; a taste that starts off sweet and finishes spicy, testing your taste buds, making you crave more.  The recipe below has just that – sweet, spicy, and keeping you coming back for more. There are so many variations for chili – what do you add as your secret ingredient?

Gluten Free Beanless Chili


  • 2 pounds ground meat (combination of ground pork, beef and steak pieces adds extra flavor; I like about 1 3/4 pounds ground beef and 1/4 pound ground pork)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 4 ounce can green chile peppers, drained
  • 1 12 ounce gluten free hard cider
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free soy sauce – Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar – Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cheddar cheese to garnish


  1. In 5.5 or so quart pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and lightly browned.
  2. Add chilli powder, cumin, basil, oregano. Saute few minutes to toast spices.
  3. While onion, garlic and spices are toasting, cook meat. Heat pan to medium-medium high heat and brown meat – the higher heat allows for a nice dark sear to form on the outside of the meat which adds amazing flavor to your chili (drain fat from ground beef).
  4. Once meat is browned, add to pot of onion, garlic and spices. Pour in diced tomato (with juice), tomato sauce, chile’s (drained), salt, pepper, cider, soy sauce, honey and vinegar. Coat the pan you used to brown your meat with sauce or cider and scrape up whatever was left over on the pan (use wooden spoon). Add to pot of ingredients.
  5. Cover and simmer for 3 hours mixing a few times every hour.
  6. Top with freshly shredded cheddar cheese and serve with gluten free crackers – for chili I found Lance Gluten Free Baked Crackers to be the most complimentary. Salty, crunchy, and delicious.


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