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Between hothouse tomatoes and oranges shipped in from South America, it’s easy to pretend that the culinary calendar no longer holds sway. But, at the end of the day, there’s no fooling your appetite. In the summer, when bathing suits beckon, light flavors and fresh salads are just the thing, the perfect foods to keep you energized and on your toes.

But now it’s autumn. The leaves are off the trees, a chill is in the air and snow is on the horizon. And, as winter starts to crowd onto the calendar, tastes naturally turn toward the warm and sustaining. Leave the salads and ceviche for long days of sun and sand; now it’s time for food that sticks to your ribs, fuels your furnace, and armors you against the cold wind’s bite. It’s time for beef chili.

Chili is a great palette upon which to construct your culinary ambitions. There are endless twists and turns in the chili playbook, and nearly infinite ways for you to adjust it to your tastes. With that in mind, here’s a basic, bare-bones beef chili recipe, a meaty, beany, vegetable-rich stew that is easy to make and which promises to keep your cheeks warm and your belly full.

Here's what you'll need to serve 4-6 people:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed