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Walt Disney's Chili

Updated on January 24, 2017

Starting Off

So, I have been attempting to cook my way through my two Disney cookbooks for a little while now. I had been derailed for several months due to unexpected circumstances that have prevented me from spending as much time as I would like in the kitchen.

Now, things appear to be back on track and I figured I could easy my way back in to cooking and blogging about cooking with an easy recipe. Chili. It is just prefect for a cold winter night and makes a ton of food at one time. Hearty and leftovers? Sign me up.

I found Walt Disney's personal chili recipe in one of my books. I was so excited to make it. I had been planning it all week. I was looking forward to enjoying a bowl of chili and slice of cornbread while my Packers took on the Falcons. Spoiler alert: my afternoon did not go as planned.

The Recipe

I had intended to keep the recipe exactly as it was written, but sadly it did not turn out that way. I ended up adding much more than I originally intended. At first I only wanted to add kidney beans. I had grown up with them in my chili and I feel that they belong in a bowl of chili. I didn't think it would change the recipe that much, so I went with it.

Well, I ended up with way too many beans. I ended up taking about 1/3 away for use a later night. Since I had three pounds of beans to start with that should have meant that I now had two pounds right? Well, they wouldn't fit in the size pan the directions told me to use...

To top it off I had forgotten about the onions so I didn't even have them in the pot to simmer with the beans. Now I have already changed the recipe more than I would have liked. I didn't think I would need to make any additional changes so I continued on as planned. I just used a bigger pot than I was planning on using to cook the beans.

I ended up needing to make a lot more changes. Possibly because I changed the amount of beans. Possibly because I grew up with a certain kind of chili and that was what I had wanted from the recipe. Possibly because I did something wrong. Who knows. What I do know is that the outcome was delicious.

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When I went to drain that beans that was my first clue that I had more than I needed for my chili.I had to use a 5 quart dutch oven to fit all the beans, and I still had to take some of the beans out.The garlic smelled so good as it cooked. And it only got better as I added the spices.
When I went to drain that beans that was my first clue that I had more than I needed for my chili.
When I went to drain that beans that was my first clue that I had more than I needed for my chili.
I had to use a 5 quart dutch oven to fit all the beans, and I still had to take some of the beans out.
I had to use a 5 quart dutch oven to fit all the beans, and I still had to take some of the beans out.
The garlic smelled so good as it cooked. And it only got better as I added the spices.
The garlic smelled so good as it cooked. And it only got better as I added the spices.
4 stars from 1 rating of Walt Disney's Chili

How Long It Will Take

Prep time: 9 hours
Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 11 hours
Yields: Enough for 4 with leftovers

Note

I feel that it is important to note that I did use a pound of kidney beans and I had forgotten the onions when I made this recipe.

My Changes

I like my chili a bit more like a thick soup or stew. I added a can of tomato paste, a can of tomato sauce, and a little water (maybe 1/2 cup) to my chili. I also added some onion powder (remember I had forgotten to get onions), a little garlic salt, and more of the original three spices the recipe called for.

The result was a chili that was more similar to what I had grown up with. But, to each their own.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds Pinto beans, dried
  • 2 White onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds Ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 28oz Chopped tomatoes, canned

Step By Step

  1. Wash and soak the beans. Soak the beans overnight in a covered container. Make sure to use cold water.
  2. Drain the beans and move them to a large pot. Add fresh water and the onions. Make sure the water is a couple of inches above the beans and onions. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  3. In a large pot saute garlic in vegetable oil. When the garlic starts to get soft add the ground beef (or turkey) and celery. Cook until meat is browned.
  4. Add the chili powder, paprika, and thyme to the meat mixture. Stir until well combined, then add the chopped tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. When the beans are tender add them to the meat mixture. Be sure to stir gently to avoid damaging the beans.
  6. Add additional spices to taste and serve hot.
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The ground beef didn't take very long to brown. Maybe 15 minutes at the most. The spices could be smelled everywhere in the house. It was fantastic.The can of chopped tomatoes changed the entire feel of the dish and really made it look more like chili.
The ground beef didn't take very long to brown. Maybe 15 minutes at the most.
The ground beef didn't take very long to brown. Maybe 15 minutes at the most.
The spices could be smelled everywhere in the house. It was fantastic.
The spices could be smelled everywhere in the house. It was fantastic.
The can of chopped tomatoes changed the entire feel of the dish and really made it look more like chili.
The can of chopped tomatoes changed the entire feel of the dish and really made it look more like chili.

Other Things To Consider

If you want to kick your chili up a notch consider adding some of the following:

  • ground ginger
  • turmeric
  • cinnamon
  • dried hot peppers
  • diced bell peppers
  • cloves
  • coriander
  • cayenne pepper
  • crushed tomatoes
  • celery seed

The list can go on and on, but this is just a start. Some people like their chili spicy. Some people prefer savory. If you aren't a fan of beans take them out entirely and maybe try a different kind of ground meat. Try venison, turkey, lamb, or bison. If meat isn't your thing try a veggie chili with different kinds of squashes. Make it your own. After all, you will be the one eating it so you might as well make it something you will enjoy.

How Did It Turn Out?

In the end I was happy with what I had made. The beans never did become tender. I think I may have done something wrong when I was cooking them. Maybe the heat wasn't high enough, or I didn't let them simmer long enough. They were edible, but not as soft as I would have liked. I think next time I will just use canned beans since it is considerably easier. But, I got to do something I had never done before so I am glad I had the experience.

I ended up with a lot more chili than I had originally planned on having. I think I'll try freezing some and see if it freezes well for future use. I know that leftover night and a few lunches will be taken care of this week.

Overall I'd say this recipe is worth trying. If you need to make changes I did find that the recipe was rather forgiving. When I needed to add the tomato paste, the tomato sauce, and the extra spices I just simmered the entire chili for an extra half hour to left the flavors meld together.

If you decide to give this recipe a try let me know. Did you feel like you needed to add something? How did it turn out? I'd love to hear from you.

The Final Product

I like my chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and crackers. But you can top it with anything you like.
I like my chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and crackers. But you can top it with anything you like.

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