Weekly Recipe: Autumn chili and soups

It appears that autumn has caught up with us again. After a frigid, rainy excuse for a weekend, I figured it was time for one of the best parts of fall: a huge, spicy, simmering pot of chili on the stove.

Chili may seem like a lot of work to some. The ingredient list may be long and the estimated cooking time may seem like an eternity. But this recipe will take just 30 to 45 minutes to make, and most of that time is spent waiting for the chili to be done — a perfect post-studying incentive! One pot costs just under $20 to make, yielding close to six servings. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for chili all winter long.

Elsea’s Brown Sugar Beer Chili

Check out this weeks recipe on Autumn Chili and Soups by CUI’s Sarah Elsea. (CU Independent Photo Illustration by Gary Sheer)


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 lb hot ground sausage

2 14 oz. cans red beans

2 cans diced tomatoes OR 2-3 fresh diced tomatoes

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped OR 2 tbsp canned minced garlic

1 medium onion, chopped

1-3 jalapenos, chopped (depends on how hot you like your chili!)

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/8 – ¼ cup of cocoa powder

1/2 bottled beer (around 1 cup, dark preferred)

3 to 4 tbsp chili powder (to taste)

3 to 4 tbsp Worcestshire sauce

A few good shakes of hot sauce

Hefty sprinkles of: Cumin, Coriander, Cayenne Pepper, Salt and Pepper

Optional: Corn meal, in case the chili needs thickening


  1. Heat a couple splashes of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped garlic, beef and sausage. Crumble and brown the meat, about 10 minutes. Add onions while browning.
  2. Spoon out any extra fat—this will make the chili too runny. Add diced tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce and jalapenos. Stir. Let simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Add brown sugar, cocoa, beer, chili, Worcestshire sauce, hot sauce, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stir.
  4. Let simmer on the stove for two hours.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream or crushed tortilla chips. Freeze in separate portions in Tupperware or quart-sized Ziploc bags. Reheat at medium power until thawed, then two to three minutes at full power

Not in the mood for chili? Try out these other awesome fall soup recipes:

Butternut Squash Soup 

A fall classic for our veggie friends, you can substitute chicken stock with vegetable stock for a little change in taste. Delicious when topped with a dollop of sour cream and served with a side of buttered bread for dipping.

Rachael Ray’s Chicken Catch-A-Tory Ravioli Stew

By far my favorite soup recipe. I leave out the chicken, substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and use four cheese ravioli like non-frozen Buitoni ravioli. I also use jarred herbs instead of fresh for my budget’s sake. This stew is fast, easy and freeze-able!

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at Sarah.elsea@colorado.edu

Sarah Elsea

Sarah Elsea (more commonly known as "Just Elsea") is a junior Poetry and English major at the University of Colorado. Originally hailing from Virginia, she enjoys her cat, cooking biscuits and gravy, and reading poetry. Contact CU Independent Senior Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at Sarah.elsea@colorado.edu.

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