Cumin’s been around a long, long time. Ancient Egyptians used cumin during mummification. No, really.
Cumin’s been around a long, long time. Ancient Egyptians used cumin during mummification. Medieval folks believed that cumin kept chickens and lovers from running away. Cumin was once used as legal tinder for tax payment. It’s is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper.1
But we don’t do any of those things anymore: Today, cumin is the secret weapon of chiliphiles to make good chili great chili.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium diced onion
- 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
- 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1⁄2 cups beef broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tbsp.ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- Option: Use 2 tsp. minced garlic instead (when a recipe calls for garlic powder, I almost always use the real thing. But that’s just because I’m classy and tasteful)
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
Put the chili powder, cumin, granulated sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
Put the olive oil into a large soup pot and put it over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the diced onion and sweat or caramelize it to taste.
If you’re using 90-percent lean ground beef, add it to the pot. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally.
If you’re using 85-percent or lower ground beef, remove the soup pot from heat. Brown the ground beef in a separate skillet; drain it, then add it to the soup pot.2
Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans, beef broth, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. If you’re using minced garlic, add it. Stir thoroughly.
Nab that bowl of spices and slowly add them to the soup pot, stirring constantly.
Bring the chili to a gentle boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.