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Backpacking Recipes

Freezer Bag Chili

Originally Posted By: Pika

This recipe has evolved over about ten years. Most of the variations tried have involved different amounts and types of ground chile and the amount of cumin added. I like the ground pasilla chile because it mellows the New Mexico hot chile without reducing the heat. I recommend that you try this at home first because of batch-to-batch variations in the flavor and heat of the various chile components. It is a lot easier to add heat than to remove it. As it stands with this recipe, the chili is mild to moderately spicy. To me! But remember, I have lived for a long time in the chili-loving southwest.


  •  1 tbsp Canola oil
  •  9 oz lean ground beef
  •  1 medium onion, diced
  •  1 16 oz can pinto beans including liquid
  •  2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  •  1 heaping tsp ground pasilla chile
  •  2 heaping tsp ground California chile (this should be mild)
  •  1 tsp ground New Mexico hot chile. Add more or less to taste. 1 tsp makes medium hot.
  •  2 tsp ground cumin.
  •   cup water

Cook in an 10-12 stainless steel skillet.

Brown ground beef in canola oil, remove from pan and set aside.

Soften garlic in oil remaining in pan then add onion and cook till soft.

Drain excess oil from pan and combine browned beef, garlic, onion, beans and liquid and water and stir. Add more water if necessary to make the mix slightly soupy.

Add the ground chile and cumin and simmer for about 20 minutes. Divide into two equal parts of about 1 cups each, spread on baking parchment on dryer trays and dry at 145F until dry.

This recipe makes two roughly 1 cup servings that weigh about 3.5 oz each. If you have a large appetite then don't bother splitting into batches. Keep in freezer until you pack for the trip.

To reconstitute:

Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of boiling water to the dried chili and let it stand for about 10 minutes.


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