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Wisconsin “Chili”

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Description

I love this dish for a quick, hearty, meal on a cold night, and I usually have the ingredients on hand. It is close to an American Chop Suey, and is even better the next day!

This is in honor of my mom. My father is from WI and when my mom visited his family there, they had this “chili.” My mom knew this wasn’t a true chili, but she came up with a close replica and we always distinguished it by calling it Wisconsin “Chili.”

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, Or To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
  • 3 teaspoons Ground Chili Powder, Or To Taste
  • 15 ounces, weight Red Kidney Beans, Undrained
  • 28 ounces, weight Whole Tomatoes, Cut Into Bite-Sized Pieces
  • 22 ounces, fluid Tomato Juice (or 4 Of The Small 5.5 Fl. Oz. Cans), Or More To Taste
  • 1-½ cup Water (optional)
  • 4 ounces, weight Macaroni Pasta
  • Saltine Crackers, To Serve

Preparation

In a Dutch oven on medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onions together. Do not drain the grease. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2-3 teaspoons chili powder, or more for more heat (mixture will look brown). Add kidney beans (undrained) and cut up tomatoes. Cook until it reaches a boil, adding more seasonings if necessary. Add tomato juice (I tend to use about 4 of the small cans, but you can add more if you like), and about 1/3 as much water, if desired (skip the water part for a stronger tomato flavor). Bring to a boil, then turn to low heat.

Leave mixture to simmer while you prepare macaroni according to package directions. Once the macaroni is cooked, add it to the chili mixture. Let cook for 5-10 minutes more, then serve in bowls with saltines (the best is to crumble the crackers over the chili!).

Note: this is a great meal to make during a busy day (no wonder my mom used to make it every Christmas Eve) because you can make the whole thing then just leave it on the stove on low and you have a warm meal whenever anyone is ready for it.

6 Comments

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Dcarlson (Vruwink) on 10.27.2012

Native Wisconsite here too – when I was married and moved to Michigan, I was blessed to have a hubby who did all the cooking. He would make chili, and I said, “That’s NOT chili!” It wasn’t the kind I grew up with! He now has learned to add macaroni noodles to our chili! LOVE it!!!
Diane (Vruwink) Carlson

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dmwmom on 6.14.2010

cyndisue – that is so funny!! You’re probably the first person from WI outside my family, I’ve heard from about this. Glad to see my Mom wasn’t lying all these years! LOL!

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cyndisue on 5.25.2010

Native Wisconsinite here…. yep that’s Chili to us. My Mom and everyone I know always makes this and calls it chili. I think I was about 25 before I had chili like the rest of the country makes.

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alisoncooks on 4.8.2010

ETA: I would give this 5 stars, if I could figure out how. I might have accidentally lowered the “mitts” rating…

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alisoncooks on 4.8.2010

This was really nice! I use jumbo elbow macaroni b/c I have a toddler and that makes it easier for her to eat. I also used 1 can of tomato soup + 1 can of water b/c I didn’t have tomato juice. Very yummy and we crumbled Ritz on top. Will definitely make again! Thanks for the easy meal!

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