This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure.

Chili, with a Spanish Flair is a great way to mix up your chili repertoire!

Chili with a Spanish Flair 1

How many times a year do you make chili? I make it a few times, but always with a different recipe. (I have a common food blogger problem; I tend to think of meals that I make and enjoy but don’t photograph for the blog as wasted opportunities, which means I rarely get to enjoy a good meal – rather, the same good meal – twice.)

Chili with a Spanish Flair 2

I had some gorgeous saffron in my pantry (thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law!) and I wanted to incorporate it into a hearty stew. A few other Spanish staples like garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, and cinnamon went into the pot with even more spices, veggies, beans, and ground beef, and a new chili was on the table. (Heads up, plain yogurt and good quality olives are the perfect toppings for this chili!)

A Note on the Beans: I had a bag of pintos in my pantry, but if you’re short on time canned beans will also work fine (you’ll need 3 to 4 (15 oz) cans), just be sure to rinse and drain them.

Chili with a Spanish Flair 3

Chili, with a Spanish Flair
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 servings
Saffron, smoked paprika, and thyme give this chili a unique twist.
  • 1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb button mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on their size
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1½ lbs lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Garnish Ideas:
  • Plain yogurt
  • Good quality olives, pitted and sliced
  • Minced fresh parsley
  • Diced onion or scallion
  1. Put the beans in a large bowl and fill with cold water; soak overnight, then drain in the morning. Add the beans to a lidded 5-quart pot and cover with cold water by 2 to 3 inches. Cover the pot, bring to a boil over high heat, and then turn the heat down and boil gently until tender, about 60 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once tender, drain the beans and then add them back to the 5-quart pot.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to the pot with the beans. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet the mushrooms were cooked in; cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the onion/bell pepper mixture to the pot with the beans and mushrooms.
  3. In the same skillet that the veggies were cooked in, brown the beef over high heat, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper, and bay leaves, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is evaporated off, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Transfer the meat mixture to the pot with the beans and veggies; dissolve the saffron in 2 tablespoons hot water and add it to the pot along with the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef stock. Cover the pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley, and then taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired; add a garnish on top if desired, and serve.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  


  1. We eat a lot of chili here. It’s a great to make a big pot of it of the weekend and then have some for lunches or for a quick dinner later in the week on a “I’m not cooking” night. This looks so good, and I love the spices in it! :)

  2. Whoa, I love all those spices-I bet this was incredible! I make chili at least 2 times a year but usually more. It’s such a great cold-weather staple.

  3. twice a year? during the winter, i make chili almost twice a week. clearly, it’s a favorite in my house. i like the spanish influence here (and the cinnamon!). :)

  4. I have been looking for a new chili recipe to try. Thanks for this one!

  5. Yum! This looks really good! I was planning on making some chili this weekend, cause we are covered in snow! I do the same thing – never make the same thing twice, but I make chili all the time! I love topping it with anything and everything!

  6. This is a nice twist on chili with not so ordinary ingredients. I’m not sure about the olives but the rest sounds great.

  7. I have that same food blogger problem lol! We eat A LOT of chili – I make a pot at least every other week for the freezer. I love this twist!

  8. We have chili quite a bit but haven’t had any like this. It looks really good so we’ll have to try it!

  9. This looks amazing! It’s perfect weather for chili here…and I love the flair :-)

  10. We eat lots of chilli, will try this for a change it sounds interesting. Thanks Diane

  11. Only twice??? We have chili pretty darn often. I love it. So many possibilities. Yours looks so yummy. Saffron is such a fun ingredient

  12. Delicious! I love the addition of olives.



Similar Posts