Now that the beans are done, I'm ready to make the chili. This recipe is pretty much the same recipe Mom made when I was growing up. I've added to it just a bit over the years.
This recipe has won many times at our church's Chili Cook Off. There aren't any measurements. It's all based on taste and preference. The slower it cooks the better it tastes.
I seasoned the ground beef with onion and garlic powder, then browned it.
Drain the beans and toss them into the pot along with the beef, onions, chili package (for my double batch I actually used 2 of these), and tomato sauce (I didn't have enough so I also reconstituted a can of tomato paste). Don't add any other seasonings at this point. Let the flavors stew together for a while before you decide what it needs. You can always add to it as you go, you can't take it out.
Once you have the chili at the consistency you prefer, add more water. Lots more water. It's going to cook on the stove for the rest of the afternoon and it will dry out. There's nothing worse than the smell of burned chili beans...burned popcorn is a close second.
After about an hour, when the chili is nice and red, you can add your other seasonings. Don't go overboard. You probably won't taste the change right away and can easily overdo it. Chili takes time for the flavor to develop. Add some salt and spices, then re-taste in another hour. You can keep this up every hour until the chili tastes exactly how you want. Be patient.
I did find that I used a lot more salt with the dried beans than I ever did using canned.
Another tip is to keep it simple. Most people don't really like exotic spices in their chili, and believe me I'm a huge fan of exotic spices. Don't make it so spicy that you can't taste it.
The end result is a nice hearty bowl of delicious chili that will warm you to your toes.